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Ovarian Cancer: What you Need to Know About This Silent but Deadly Disease

May 6, 2024

World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day

In honour of World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day, here are five things you need to know:


  1. Each year in B.C., more than 300 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, seven in 10 will die within five years of a diagnosis.
  2. There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer. Symptoms are subtle and often mimic other less serious conditions. They include bloating, abdominal pain, frequent urination and feeling full quickly when eating. People with persistent and/or worsening symptoms, or an increased risk of ovarian cancer, should discuss testing options with their physician.
  3. Although the cause of ovarian cancer is not always known, individuals with a family history of ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer are at increased risk of developing this disease. Taking hormonal contraception and breast feeding are associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer.
  4. In 2008, B.C.’s world-renowned ovarian cancer research group OVCARE discovered that ‘ovarian cancer’ is multiple distinct diseases. Most ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tubes. This informed Dr. Dianne Miller’s development of the first ovarian cancer prevention surgery: opportunistic salpingectomy. By removing the fallopian tubes, during other pelvic or abdominal procedures, it eliminates the tissues where most ovarian cancers start. Opportunistic salpingectomy is now used worldwide as an effective prevention strategy.
  5. As a result of OVCARE research, individuals in Canada diagnosed with the most common type of ovarian cancer undergo testing for BRCA1/2 gene mutations that are associated with other types of cancer, including breast. Identifying these patients enables them, and their family members, to access increased screening or risk reducing interventions.

Learn more about BC Cancer’s groundbreaking research to improve ovarian cancer outcomes, or make a donation today to show your support.

Source: BC Cancer