Death rates from women’s cancers drop significantly

Death rates for female breast cancer and gynaecological cancers have dropped significantly in Queensland in recent decades, new Cancer Council research shows.

The latest data from CCQ’s Cancer Research Centre shows female breast cancer death rates have dropped by an average of more than two per cent per year since 1993 – a total decrease of 34 per cent.

Death rates for gynaecological cancers decreased by 28 per cent between 1982 and 2012, with the biggest drop for cervical cancer, with death rates 60 per cent lower today than in the early 1980s.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the trend was encouraging.

“The drop in death rates is linked to a range of factors including earlier detection, participation in recommended screening and improved treatment,” Ms Clift said.

“The drop in breast cancer mortality is likely linked to the widespread use of post-operative systemic adjuvant therapies – like chemotherapy and hormonal therapies.

“We know participation in breast and cervical cancer screening is vital in detecting women’s cancers early and improving survival outcomes.

“While death rates are decreasing, our research also shows incidence rates of female breast cancer are continuing to steadily increase – by about one per cent per year.

“Rates of gynaecological cancer have plateaued in recent years, after consistent decreases from the early 1980s.”

More than 4000 Queensland women are diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancers each year, and about 850 women die from these women’s cancers.

Cancer Council’s Girls’ Night In campaign raises awareness of women’s cancers and invites Queenslanders to donate to lifesaving cancer research and patient support services.

“One in six Queensland women will be diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer in their lifetime, taking a tragic toll on our lives,” Ms Clift said.

“Events like Girls’ Night In raise funds to allow Cancer Council to work across every aspect of women’s cancers, from research to prevention, support and advocacy,” she said.

“It’s also a great opportunity to connect with cherished women and check up on their health and wellbeing.”

This year Cancer Council Queensland aims to raise $1.9 million through Girls’ Night In, including Pink fundraising events throughout October and Pink Ribbon Day on October 26.

For more information about Girls’ Night In, visit or call 1300 656 585.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171