WOMEN AND CANCER

Every day in Australia, around 65 women are told they have breast or a gynaecological cancer. Although one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85, a woman diagnosed today has a 90% chance of surviving for at least five years. Over 17,000 women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. This figure will increase to 18,235 in 2018. Sadly, it is estimated that 3,087 of those women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 will die of the disease. Gynaecological cancers include ovarian, cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancer. Australia has been at the forefront of cervical cancer prevention for decades, and in 2017 a new and more effective National Cervical Screening Program was introduced. Cancer Council research helped inform these significant changes, which are expected to reduce cancer cases and deaths by 20%. Biennial Pap smears have been replaced with five-yearly tests for HPV (human papillomavirus), which is responsible for 99% of cervical cancers.