Ovarian Cancer Research

BC Cancer researchers have an ambitious goal to reduce the incidence of ovarian cancer by 50 per cent in the next 15 years.

Every three and a half hours, another woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Canada. In B.C, more than 300 women will be diagnosed with a form of ovarian cancer this year.

With few early symptoms it is often diagnosed in the advanced stages when treatments are less likely to result in a cure.

The bleak fact that seven in ten women die within five years of diagnosis fuels the passion of researchers to further understand this disease and improve outcomes. The OVCARE team, led by Drs. David Huntsman and Dianne Miller believe that most types of ovarian cancer share a crucial feature, they are potentially preventable
 

Research Underway to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

The OVCARE team at BC Cancer is focused on discoveries that have a direct link to patient care. They are building a prevention toolbox to expand on advancements already in place such as the removal of a woman’s fallopian tubes during routine hysterectomy or tubal ligation. The BC Cancer team has also integrated genetic testing into standard care to further identify family members with an inherited risk of ovarian cancer.

The team is launching a study to further explore the impact of surgical removal of fallopian tubes in the general population to determine if additional steps can be implemented to prevent ovarian cancer.

Additionally, Dr. Huntsman’s lab will build upon recent research that identifies women with endometriosis as having a two- or three-fold increased risk of endometrial ovarian carcinoma and clear cell ovarian carcinoma. This work will identify markers within endometriosis that predict risk of transforming into cancer. Their goal is to deploy strategies to identify and prevent the development of cancer from endometriosis.

Erin Barrett shares the shock of an ovarian cancer diagnosis as her second child was born. She is now an advocate for research to prevent the disease from impacting other women. Hear from Drs. David Huntsman and Dianne Miller on BC Cancer's goal to prevent 50 percent of ovarian cancers within the next 15 years.

Early Detection in Ovarian Cancer

“I’ve seen the devastating impact ovarian cancer can have for families. In the clinic, I’m treating mothers first, followed by their daughters. This must change – I don’t want to be treating granddaughters next. We must do more to prevent ovarian cancer and help women across generations.”

– Dr. Anna Tinker, Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer

Dr. Anna Tinker, medical oncologist at BC Cancer Agency, specializes in gynecologic cancers and is currently leading a study that explores new methods to detect ovarian and endometrial cancers in asymptomatic women. Dr. Tinker’s study explores safe and simple methods of detection and sees two groups of women trialing both a self-swab method and simply wearing a tampon for six hours to collect cells, along with a blood test. 

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