Team effort to beat ovarian cancer

Canadian researchers are embarking on a project to develop new ways to detect ovarian cancer earlier, when it is treatable.

The multidisciplinary team from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), and the universities of Sherbrooke, Laval, Quebec, McGill and Calgary have initiated a study known as “DOVE - Detecting Ovarian Cancer Earlier”.

The study is the idea of gynecological oncologist, Dr Lucy Gilbert of the McGill University who will lead a team of gynecological oncologists, family practitioners, general gynecologists, mathematicians, epidemiologists and scientists from centres across Canada.

Ovarian cancer is considered “the silent killer”, but research has shown that women with ovarian cancer are symptomatic but because the signs are vague and non-specific in nature, they are ignored by women and their doctors.

Dr. Gilbert says ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women and deadliest of the gynecological cancers.

She says the statistics are alarming and a reliable method to detect the disease early needs to be developed without delay.

Early symptoms of ovarian cancer include, abdominal bloating, changes in bowel and bladder patterns, excessive fatigue and abdominal discomfort.

If the disease is caught in its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is over 90 per cent.

Dr. Gilbert says “DOVE” aims to give doctors a predictive tool so they can tell who needs urgent investigation as precisely as possible.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates 2,300 Canadian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and 1,600 women will die from the disease.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.