Launch of Nation-wide study for early detection of ovarian cancer

Montreal May 30, 2006 A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), and the universities of Sherbrooke, Laval, Quebec, McGill and Calgary have launched a multi-centre study designed for early identification of women at risk of ovarian cancer (OC).

The study known as "DOVE Detecting OVarian Cancer Earlier" is the initiative of gynecological oncologist, Dr Lucy Gilbert of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Gilbert and a team of gynecological oncologists, family practitioners, general gynecologists, mathematicians, epidemiologists and scientists from centres across Canada have combined their medical expertise to defeat this disease. Although ovarian cancer is considered "the silent killer", there are numerous studies that show that women with ovarian cancer are symptomatic but unfortunately because the signs are vague and non-specific in nature, they are ignored by women and their doctors.

"Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women and deadliest of the gynecological cancers" says Dr. Lucy Gilbert, the principal investigator in the study. "The statistics are alarming and a reliable assessment tool to detect this disease early and while it is treatable (in stage 1 of the disease) must be developed without delay. We owe this to women and the DOVE team is determined to work on achieving this goal," she explains.

Of the 2400 new women diagnosed each year more than 75% will die from the disease. Four women die per day in Canada from ovarian cancer because most are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease (stages 2 and 3). However, if the cancer is detected early (at stage 1) more than 80% will survive.

"By the time women present to us with ovarian cancer over 60% are already at stage three and four very advanced stages of the cancer" says gynecological oncologist, Dr. Prafull Ghatage of Calgary's Tom Baker Cancer Centre. "Even with heroic efforts at surger

Contact: Seeta Ramdass
McGill University

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