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Why Research?

Every two hours an Australian woman is diagnosed with a gynae cancer. 

The lifetime risk of a woman developing a gynae cancer is 1 in 20, so almost every Australian will have a close friend or relative affected. With only a 68% survival rate, a diagnosis of a gynae cancer comes with a high mortality rate. 

Every five hours an Australian woman, affected by gynae cancer, dies.

30 years ago, breast cancer had a 5–year survial rate of 72% and gynae cancer had a 5-year survival rate of 59%. By 2015, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer  had increased to 90%, while the 5-year survival for gynae cancer was still only 68%. This means that the survival for gynae cancer is improving at only half the rate as breast cancer.

The AGCF wants to increase gynae cancer survival rates, this will only be achieved via increased funding for research. It’s that simple and every moment counts.

More than 5500 new cases are diagnosed each year in Australia. This is predicted to rise to 6000 new cases by 2020. These cancers represent 10% of all cancers in women, and cause 9% of cancer-related deaths in women.

Cervical cancer is far from defeated by new cancer limiting vaccination and screening, with the number of new cases increasing from 850 per year and predicted to rise to 915 in 2020.

Since the human genome project was completed in 2003, rapid progress has been made in cancer research, but progress has been slow for gynae cancers because comparatively little research money has been allocated to these cancers. By providing more charity research grant money, we will be able to attract more scientists to work in the field of gynae cancers.

The Cancer Council has observed: 

“There appears to be a relationship between levels of direct research investment and improvements in 5-year relative survival… cancers which receive larger amounts of direct funding to research projects… have shown greater improvements in 5-year relative survival.”

In other words, breast cancer 5-year survival has increased to 90% from 72% in the last three decades. During the same time period gynae cancers 5 year survival rate have increased from x to x. A much less significant increase in survival, and it’s all down to funding.

Breaking it down still further, during the same period, ovarian cancer 5 year survival has only improved from 32% to 43%. Ovarian cancer is the ninth most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the sixth most common cause of cancer death among Australian women. 10 year survival is not improving and, at 34%, remains far worse than for breast cancer (83%) and other cancers commonly affecting women. Overall 5-year survival for gynae cancers combined is 68%, ranging from about 43% for ovarian cancer to about 82% for uterine cancer.

What is most alarming, is the rate of 5 year survival for gynae cancer is improving at only half the rate of all other cancers.

Comforting cancer sufferers is no longer good enough. We need more research funding to save lives.