This study concerns the survival of European patients diagnosed between 1978 and 1989 with cancer of corpus and cervix uteri and ovary. Variations in survival in relation to age, country and period of diagnosis were examined. Data from the EUROCARE study were supplied by population-based cancer registries in 17 countries to a common protocol. Five years after diagnosis, relative survival rates were 75, 62 and 35% for cancers of the endometrium, cervix and ovary, respectively. Survival decreased markedly with age. The decrease was especially evident for ovarian cancer, which declined from 65% (15-45 years) to 18% (75+ years). In 1985-1989 there were important inter-country differences in survival for European women with gynaecological cancers: Eastern European countries were characterised by low 5-year relative survival whilst in Sweden, Austria, The Netherlands and Switzerland survival was generally higher than for other European countries. From 1978-1989, 5-year relative survival improved slightly for cervical cancer and improved more among the oldest patients. Prognosis also improved slightly for patients with ovarian tumours and this increase (around 20%) was concentrated among patients between 15 and 64 years of age. Intercountry differences in survival did not in general reduce over time, although for ovarian cancer survival differences narrowed probably in relation to the more widespread use of more effective chemotherapy. Intercountry and time differences in survival for cervical cancer are almost certainly related to variations in the effectiveness of cervical screening programmes. For corpus uteri cancer there was no improvement in survival over the period of this study and intercountry survival differences for this cancer are probably related to differences in patient management.