How does Australia compare?
Australia was one of the first countries in the world, after the United States, to recognize Gynaecological Oncology as a subspecialty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Official recognition by the (then) Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RACOG) occurred in 1985, and training in gynaecological oncology was introduced in 1987. It takes 3 years of subspecialty training, following training in general Obstetrics and Gynaecology, to become a Certified Gynaecological Oncologist of the (now) RANZCOG. Gynaecological oncologists work as part of a multidisciplinary team in Gynaecological Cancer Centres in all capital cities in Australia, and in Newcastle. Outreach clinics are held in some large country towns. Gynaecological Cancer Centres employ specialised psychologists, social workers and nurses to ensure that survivorship is appropriately addressed.
Results of treatment for gynaecological cancer in Australia are comparable with the best in the world.
What should you do if you are diagnosed with a gynae cancer?
Any woman with a gynae cancer should at least have a consultation with a gynaecological oncologist to ensure that the best treatment is being offered.
What is happening with early diagnosis?
Early diagnosis of cervical cancer was improved when the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program was introduced in 1992, and this program has seen the incidence of cervical cancer fall by about 50%.
Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer remains an elusive goal, but research to find a screening test is ongoing. Research into many aspects of ovarian cancer is ongoing via the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, a large multicentre study which has accrued about 1500 patients. It is one of the largest ovarian cancer studies in the world.
Are there clinical trials in progress?
The Australian and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) conduct important clinical trials in collaboration with other clinical trials groups around the world, including the Gynaecological Cancer Intergroup (GCIG).
Is enough research being done?
A lot of research is being done, but much more could be done with more financial resources. Money raised by the AGCF will be used to fund research, both through the ANZGOG clinical trials, and through laboratory research into the various cancers.