Facts and Statistics about Common Women’s Cancers: Breast, Gynaecological, Cervical and Ovarian

Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Breast Cancer, cancer charity, Cancer Research, charity foundation, Fighting cancer, Funding research, Types of cancer, women's cancer, women's cancers, Women’s Cancer Month, Women’s Cancer Facts, Breast Cancer Facts, Gynaecological Cancer, Gynaecological Cancer Facts, Cervical Cancer, Cervical Cancer Facts, Ovarian Cancer Facts, Ovarian Cancer, Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ovarian cancer awareness month, cancer fundraising, cancer research fundraising, give to charity, cancers affecting women

Each day up to 170 women in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. With this alarming figure, ACRF is determined to make a difference in the lives of Australian women through cancer research.

To raise awareness of the cancers that affect women this month, we’ve compiled a few interesting facts and stats.

Women’s cancer facts and statistics at a glance

  • 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer before the age of 85
  • There are over 200 types of cancer that can affect women
  • The most common cancers diagnosed with Australian women are: non-melanoma of the skin, breast, colorectal, leukaemia and lymphoma
  • Thanks to research, survival rates were highest for women diagnosed with thyroid cancer (97%), lip cancer (94%) and melanoma of the skin (94%)

Breast cancer facts and statistics

  • 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women
  • Thanks to research, the 5 year survival rate is just over 90%
  • Known risk factors are diet, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity
  • Breast cancer in men accounts for around 1% of all breast cancer occurrences

Gynaecological cancer facts and statistics

  • The risk of an individual being diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer by age 85 is 1 in 22.
  • Gynaecological cancers were the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer among females in Australia.
  • Known risk factors include age
  • The five year survival rate is 68%
  • Gynaecological cancers include malignant neoplasms of vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, placenta and ovaries

For more information on gynaecological cancer, click here.

Cervical cancer facts and statistics

  • The risk of a woman being diagnosed with cervical cancer by the age of 85 is 1 in 162.
  • The five-year survival rate for women with cervical cancer is 72%
  • In 2009, cervical cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia
  • Since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Program in 1991, the number of new cases of cervical cancer for women of all ages almost halved
  • In 2006, Professor Ian Frazer and his team at the University of Queensland discovered a vaccine to prevent HPV, protecting women against most types of cervical cancer

Ovarian cancer facts and statistics

  • 1 in 75 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer before the age of 85
  • Most common most common cause of gynaecological cancer death in Australia
  • More research is needed to increase the 5 year survival rate from 45%
  • Known risk factors are family history and genetic susceptibility as well as obesity and physical inactivity
  • Symptoms are often vague and can be similar to the symptoms of many other conditions

Donate or Fundraise To Support Women’s Cancer Research

By donating, fundraising for and supporting cancer research into all cancers that affect women, you are helping to fund the next big breakthrough in cancer detection and treatment.

Our Woman’s Appeal aims to raise much needed funds for research into common women’s cancers, including breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. You can make a donation today to help fund research for women with cancer.

Tracking ovarian cancers’ evolution to change approaches to treatment

David Bowtell, Peter Mac, cancer research, charity foundation, cancer research, cancer scientists, research discoveries, give to charity, progress, science, treatments, ovarian cancer, DNA, genetic mutations

We often think of evolution as a positive thing, associating it with progress, growth and development. But because evolution exists in all living things, including cancer cells, it also presents one of the greatest challenges for researchers as they seek out new ways to outsmart an ever moving target.

But thanks to the team of world-leading researchers at the ACRF funded Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre at least four evolutionary processes have now been identified that enable ovarian cancer cells to resist chemotherapy treatments.

In collaboration with two other key ACRF-funded research institutes, University of Queensland’s Institute of Molecular Biosciences and Westmead’s Millennium Institute, the research team used whole genome sequencing to analyse tumour DNA samples from 91 patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Their new insights into how these cells genetically change to become resilient will allow researchers to investigate more effective treatments – treatments that are tailored to break through each defensive barrier.

The defence mechanisms identified in these cancer cells included everything from “hijacking” genetic switches that enable them to pump chemotherapy drugs out of their way to reshaping and accumulating “scar tissue” which appears to block the chemotherapy drugs.

‘In this research we saw stark reminders of how evolution presents us with incredible challenges – to fight an insidious enemy, you need to understand them, and we’ve made a great leap forward thanks to a truly international collaborative effort ,’ says Peter Mac researcher Professor David Bowtell.

Before this clinicians would watch as initially effective treatment became ineffective and cancer cells made an aggressive comeback in their patients. For decades they had little information to guide them when selecting treatment for women whose cancer has returned.

‘The research is a turning-point in the global fight against ovarian cancer it offers great hope to patients world-wide,’ says Professor Bowtell.

To date this has been the largest complete DNA analysis of ovarian cancer in the world and it would not have been possible without the outstanding support of ACRF donors.

This information was originally published by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.

New screening technique developed to detect ‘silent’ ovarian cancers early.

Cancer scientists, UNSW, cancer research, discoveries, current cancer research, ovarian cancer, funding research, detection, diagnosis, advancement
University of NSW Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs. Image source: UNSW Newsroom


Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’, with around one hundred thousand women succumbing to the disease globally each year. Symptoms can be very vague, and the disease often spreads before the cancer can be found.

But there is new hope for early detection. The latest results from a clinical trial led by UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ian Jacobs, in collaboration with University College London, have shown a novel new screening method can identify twice as many women with ovarian cancer as existing strategies.

The new screening programme allows researchers to better interpret the changing levels of a specific protein called CA125 (which has been linked to ovarian cancer) through a blood test, giving a highly accurate prediction of a woman’s individual risk.

“The sensitivity is very, very high – much higher than people thought would be possible,” said Professor Jacobs. The new method detected cancer in 86% of women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer (iEOC).

Previous methods, which detected just 41%, would only raise concern once the concentration of this protein had passed a fixed threshold. The problem with this was that certain women with high levels didn’t actually have cancer, while others with levels below the threshold did.

Professor Jacobs says, “What’s normal for one woman may not be so for another. It is the change in levels of this protein that’s important.”

The trial involved over two-hundred thousand post-menopausal women aged 50 or over and was the largest of its kind to date in the world.

“My hope is that when the results of UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening are available, this approach will prove capable of detecting ovarian cancer early enough to save lives.”

Prof. Jacobs’ team are awaiting further test results later this year before the method has proved capable of detecting ovarian cancer early enough to save lives. If these results are positive, Prof. Jacobs says the method will likely be adopted in an annual screening program.

This article was originally published on UNSW Newsroom, to read the full article click here.

Researchers develop antibody to target cancerous ovarian cells.

59910457_m1320934-pancreatic_cancer_-300x168Researchers from the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland (MRI-UQ) have developed an antibody drug, in pre-clinical trials, which attacks cancerous ovarian cells.

The drug has been found to successfully target a specific protein which is present only on the surface of cancerous ovarian cells, not on normal ovarian cells.

Associate Professor John Hooper said, “One of the really interesting things is that while normal ovaries don’t produce this protein, the tumours of about 90 per cent of patients do.”

By targeting this protein, the drug will also help limit the serious side-effects of traditional treatments.

“We can attack the cancerous cells while having little impact on the normal ovarian cells, and that reduces the side-effects, which is obviously of great interest to patients” Associate Professor Hooper said.

“Another thing we found with this protein is that it sits on the surface of the cancerous cells so it’s much easier for the drug to target it.”

While the study is still in its early stages, the research team are taking leaps and bounds towards a better understanding of how to attack ovarian cancer, which is currently the second most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia.

In the project’s next phase, researchers will study how the antibody responds to patient samples to further determine its effectiveness.

More information about this discovery can be found here.

Six more ovarian cancer risk genes found

Close-up of microscopeQIMR Berghofer and the University of Cambridge have led an international study, finding six new gene regions which increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer. The number of ovarian cancer risk susceptibility regions identified has therefore increased, from 12 to 18.

Although these risk gene variants, or “typos”, are much more subtle than the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, incorporating them into tests which predict a woman’s ovarian cancer risk would be more precise.

Head of QIMR Berghofer’s Cancer Program, Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench said “Individually, each of these ‘typos’ increases the risk of cancer by a very small amount.”

“However, if a woman carries a large number of these ‘typos’ her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be as high as that conferred by mutations in BRCA1 or 2.”

QIMR Berghofer scientists are now part of an even bigger study which is likely to double the number of gene regions known to increase ovarian cancer risk.

“Once we identify each of these genetic ‘typos’, the next challenge is to find out the way they work – both individually and together,” Professor Chenevix-Trench said.

“Understanding how each of these variants works will eventually lead to an understanding how ovarian cancer develops, and how to develop better reduction medications and treatments.”

The ACRF is proud to have provided over $6 million in grants funding to QIMR Berghofer since 2002, for technologies and infrastructure with the power to speed up lifesaving discoveries across many cancer types.

New Hope for Sufferers of Ovarian Cancer

New_Hope_Ovarian_CancerAustralian experts say new drug developments and individualised treatments are bolstering efforts to improve the prognosis for patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.

Professor Martin Oehler, Director of the Department of Gynaecological Oncology at Royal Adelaide Hospital, said the past 20 years had seen little improvement in the detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, but there are now many advances in the pipeline and the research community is ‘very positive and hopeful’.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer and develops in the epithelium, which is the surface of the ovary. There are currently no tests effective enough for a population based screening program for ovarian cancer, and symptoms can often be vague making early diagnosis difficult.

International research efforts have been focused on early detection, and although technical limitations had so far prevented the development of a blood test to detect ovarian cancer researchers are now looking to the disease’s immune signature to aid early detection.

Oncologist Dr Anne Hamilton from the ACRF-funded research institute Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said ‘the building blocks’ were now starting to fall into place and new drug therapies were showing promise. The Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, for which Dr Hamilton is a scientific advisor, is studying the genetic changes leading to the formation of cancers.

“The study has already identified subgroups of ovarian cancer and what that’s giving us now is an ability to try to tailor treatment to six different types of ovarian cancer rather than one.” Dr Hamilton said.

Researchers have realised that ovarian cancer is a very heterogeneous disease consisting of distinct subtypes of different origin that vary significantly with regard to molecular biology and clinical behaviour. With this increased knowledge, the hope is for the development of more innovative and targeted treatments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ovarian Cancer Awareness month kicks off with significant discovery

We begin Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with news of fantastic progress by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), who have made significant headway into understanding one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

These Aussie cancer scientists have identified two enzymes that make serous ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy, and can be targeted to improve treatment results.

Serous ovarian cancer is generally an aggressive type of cancer. Due to its location it can move quickly from the ovaries to the abdominal cavity where it then spreads throughout the body quite rapidly.

Continue reading “Ovarian Cancer Awareness month kicks off with significant discovery”

Ovarian Cancer Awareness month kicks off with significant discovery

We begin Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month with news of fantastic progress by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), who have made significant headway into understanding one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

These Aussie cancer scientists have identified two enzymes that make serous ovarian cancer resistant to chemotherapy, and can be targeted to improve treatment results.

Serous ovarian cancer is generally an aggressive type of cancer. Due to its location it can move quickly from the ovaries to the abdominal cavity where it then spreads throughout the body quite rapidly.

Continue reading “Ovarian Cancer Awareness month kicks off with significant discovery”

Streetsmart Marketing aims to raise 100K for cancer research in Australia

In a massive act of generosity, “Secure the Future”, a three day super-conference, is donating its base ticketing price to world-class cancer research in Australia!

Mal Emery, CEO of Streetsmart Marketing and Co-Founder “StreetSmart Business School” chose the Australian Cancer Research Foundation as the beneficiary of this event due to his very humbling experiences with cancer.

“Like most people, my company StreetSmart Business School has been touched by cancer – deeply,” Mal told us.

Continue reading “Streetsmart Marketing aims to raise 100K for cancer research in Australia”

Tokyo to Osaka: A 36 hour fundraising cycle to bring in the New Year!

“It’s for my Great Aunt Lynn, and the thousands of other brave souls in the world facing their personal battle against cancer, that I am undertaking this challenge.”

This was ACRF supporter Andrew’s New Year’s Resolution for 2014. When he found out in December that his beloved Great Aunt Lynn had been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, Andrew knew he had to do something to show his support and love for a woman who had been such an inspiration to him; a woman he described as “brave, pure and a kind-hearted fighter”.

Continue reading “Tokyo to Osaka: A 36 hour fundraising cycle to bring in the New Year!”

Unravelling ovarian cancer reveals potential new treatment

Researchers have taken another step towards understanding ovarian cancer, and in treating one of the most lethal forms of this elusive disease.

The findings by researchers from Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre build on the understanding that some ovarian cancers are driven by the deactivation of the BRCA 1 gene, especially those with high-grade carcinomas.

‘We now know ovarian cancer is a very diverse disease, analogous to a Russian babushka doll,” said Professor Bowtell, senior author of the study, which was published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It looks like one doll until you take it apart and find layer after layer — but we’re confident when we have finally separated this cancer into all its molecular groups, we will have a much better chance of improving survival for all women.”

Continue reading “Unravelling ovarian cancer reveals potential new treatment”

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How ACRF Is Outsmarting Women’s Cancers this October

October is known around the world as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The aim of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to increase awareness of breast cancer and the impact it has as well as to raise much needed funds. To celebrate breast cancer awareness month, people engage in fundraising activities and purchase pink merchandise to raise money for this fantastic cause.

At ACRF however, we refer to October as our “Women’s Cancer Month” – a time where we raise awareness and much needed funds for all types of cancer that affect Australian women, as cancer statistics show 1 in 4 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75.

Why we are determined to find better prevention, detection and treatment methods for women’s cancers

At ACRF, we are committed to improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. That is why, this October we are focusing on all cancers that affect women, not just breast cancer.

Every day up to 50 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer. These cancer types include uterine, cervical, vulva and ovarian – cancers which are sometimes forgotten and unfortunately under-funded. Then there are other common women’s cancers which we need to remember this October: these include; bowel, lung and skin cancers.

We are committed to funding research through our grants and research projects into these cancer types, bringing new hope to our mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and friends around the world.

Continue reading “October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How ACRF Is Outsmarting Women’s Cancers this October”

All-female shearing team work the woolsheds for cancer research

The Ducks on the PondAfter more than a year of planning, fundraising, and physical training, Sam Westcott and Bec Flynn, and their team of 35 female shearers – the Ducks on the Pond – have reached their fundraising peak with a most generous donation of over $30,000 to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation!

“Ducks on the Pond” was a term traditionally used by male shearers when they saw a lady approaching the workmen’s shed. It was a warning for the gents to clean up their language and their appearance.

So when Sam and Bec devised their unique fundraising idea – they thought it would be only too appropriate to call their all-female event “Ducks on the Pond”. They wanted to show how times have changed, highlighting the important role of women in the wool harvesting industry.

Continue reading “All-female shearing team work the woolsheds for cancer research”

ACRF opens two new cancer research facilities in Melbourne

Cancer Research boost through ACRF fundingTwo new ACRF-funded cancer research facilities at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have today been officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Councillor Robert Doyle.

Thanks to a $2 million ACRF grant, these new divisions will expand the institute’s current cancer research into the causes and treatments for some of the most prevalent cancers in Australia.

In particular the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division will study the biology of epithelial cancers – which account for 80% of human cancers – including breast, lung and ovarian cancers. Continue reading “ACRF opens two new cancer research facilities in Melbourne”

Cancer research partnership will improve treatments for patients

Cancer Research boost through ACRF fundingNew laboratories funded by ACRF are set to strengthen cancer research for some of the most prevalent cancers in Australia.

ACRF’s recent $2 million grant has allowed the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne to expand and enhance existing research programs into the causes of, and new treatments for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and leukaemia.

In order to do this, the ACRF funding will be directed into two particular cancer research divisions, known as ‘The ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division’ and ‘The ACRF Chemical Biology Division’.

“Lung cancer is the greatest cause of cancer-related death in Australians, while breast cancer is a leading cause of mortality in women,” said Professor Geoff Lindeman, joint head of the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division (pictured, middle).

“These are diseases that are very prevalent, and patients need better treatments” he said. “Similarly, more research is needed into ovarian cancer, which is poorly understood and for which the outlook for patients is very poor. We need new treatment strategies, ACRF’s support will help us to do that.”

Continue reading “Cancer research partnership will improve treatments for patients”

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

05-womenFebruary is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and a very timely discovery has been made by Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research which has fantastic potential for early diagnosis of this terrible disease.

Ovarian cancer is currently the most lethal gynaecological cancer in Australia, with almost 850 women dying from the disease each year*.

It is very difficult to detect and is often only discovered once it has spread past the pelvis and into other organs (often the stomach, bowel and lungs). But Australian scientists from the Garvan have identified early biochemical changes which may help diagnose the cancer before it spreads. Continue reading “February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month”