US Pharm. 2014;39(9):11.

Of every 400 (per 100,000 population) persons in the United States who are diagnosed with at least one of the more than 100 types of cancer, 12% (47.7 per 100,000) have a cancer related to the female reproductive organs (excluding fallopian-tube and primary peritoneal cancers, which are rare). According to the CDC, all women are at risk for developing gynecologic cancers, and the probability increases with age. Each year, 71,500 women are diagnosed with, and 26,500 women die from, a gynecologic cancer. The gynecologic cancer with the highest incidence is uterine cancer (24.8 per 100,000); ovarian cancer is a distant second (11.4 per 100,000), and cervical cancer is third (7.5). Vaginal cancer (diagnosed in 1,000 women annually) and vulvar cancer (3,500 women) are uncommon, accounting for 6% to 7% of all gynecologic cancers diagnosed each year.

Cervical Cancer: This form of cancer occurs most often in women aged >30 years. Healthy People 2020 objectives call for reducing the incidence of cervical cancer from 7.5 per 1,000 women (in the year 2000) to 7.1 per 100,000. Over the last two decades, the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program has provided 4.2 million women with 10.4 million screening tests and has diagnosed 3,113 invasive cervical cancers and 144,460 premalignant cervical lesions, 41% of which were high-grade. Over the past four decades, the number of deaths from cervical cancer has decreased by as much as 65% (because of regular Pap tests), but 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually. Women aged 40 to 44 years have the highest incidence of cervical cancer (14.7 per 100,000).

Ovarian Cancer: Ovarian cancer, which affects 20,000 individuals annually, is the eighth most common type of cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women. All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, and 90% of cases occur in women aged >40 years, but the greatest incidence is in those aged ≥60 years. Women aged 80 to 84 years have the highest incidence of ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is as high as 60% in women who carry the BRCA gene.

Uterine Cancer: Cancer of the uterus usually occurs in women who are going through menopause or are postmenopausal. Each year, 35,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with uterine cancer, which is the fourth most common gynecologic diagnosis. Women aged 65 to 69 years have the highest incidence of this type of cancer (101.1 per 100,000).

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