Introduction: Ovarian Cancer

To begin, there are 5 main types of gynecology-related cancers: Ovarian, Cervical, Uterine, Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers. While some of these cancers can be detected and diagnosed with one unique, specialized exam (such as the Pap Test for Cervical Cancer), Ovarian Cancer is an exception.

Unfortunately, there is not one firm medical examination that can be used to definitely determine the presence of ovarian cancer. This lack of a sole specific medical examination is one of the main reasons as to why ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in its irreversible, advanced stage. Another explanation for the commonly-delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer is the animosity of the symptoms associated with this disease.

"There is not one unique, specialized exam that can be used to definitely determine the presence of ovarian cancer"

Symptoms affiliated with Ovarian cancer (Source: cancerworld.info)
Physical signs signaling the onset of ovarian cancer are very vague, and hence, are often dismissed as being physiologically normal by the symptomatic women. For instance, vague, yet dominant, symptoms linked to ovarian cancer include bloating, feeling full after few bites, pain in lower abdomen, increased urinary frequency, while more severe symptoms consist of post-menopausal bleeding and presence of abdominal mass. Therefore, because the predominant symptoms signaling ovarian cancer are ambiguous, they are most often ignored.

"Physical signs signaling the onset of ovarian cancer are very vague, and hence, are often dismissed"


In summary, there are 2 rationales that explain the deadly nature of ovarian cancer. Firstly, there is not one specific medical test that is capable of detecting and diagnosing ovarian cancer. Secondly, symptomatic women do not find it necessary to present themselves to a doctor, because of the silent, unclear nature of their symptoms.

The development of an innovative medical exam for the early detection of Ovarian Cancer and the immediate presentation of symptomatic women to their physicians are critical, as ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer. In fact, it is statistically proven that 2,800 Canadian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. Of these 2,800 positively-diagnosed women, 1,750 of these women will pass away due to the disease. This data translates into a 62.5% death rate among Canadian women with ovarian cancer. These statistics clearly display the mortal nature of ovarian cancer.

"Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer.
[It has] a 62.5% death rate among Canadian women"

 

Now that a brief introduction to Ovarian Cancer has been laid out, the main question that is probing our minds at this moment is:

How can Ovarian Cancer be diagnosed in its early stage?

This is where the DOvEE Project comes in!

 

 

 

The DOvEE Project is kindly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the McGill University Health Centre.