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NEWS RELEASE · 10th September 2010
Ministry of Health Services
Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon announced today $150,000 toward developing a screen for ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer for women in British Columbia and throughout Canada.

"British Columbians should be proud of our leadership in cancer prevention, treatment and research," said Falcon speaking at an ovarian cancer awareness luncheon in Vancouver. "Cancer researchers in British Columbia have made exciting discoveries regarding ovarian cancer and by matching private-sector funding of $150,000 to Ovarian Cancer Canada, who will then provide it to the BC Cancer Agency, much more can be done in the way of screening and research. If detected early, we can improve health outcomes."

The cause of ovarian cancer is largely unknown. Symptoms are often vague and there currently is no reliable screening process to detect it. Research is the key to developing more effective ovarian cancer treatments, which leads to earlier detection and a better prognosis for those affected. Ovarian cancer has a five-year survival rate of 30 per cent, but if detected early this can climb as high as 90 per cent.

"After decades of making no progress in the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer we are now at a point where we can move ahead in leaps and bounds," says Dr. Dianne Miller, gynecologic oncologist with the Ovarian Cancer Research Program at Vancouver General Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency. "This important gift from the Province of B.C. will assist us in developing a first-of-its kind screening and early detection tool, so we can identify and halt the progression of this deadly disease."

According to the Canadian Cancer Society's 2010 Canadian Cancer Statistics report, British Columbia women have the lowest overall mortality rate and incidence rate for all cancers in Canada. Researchers with the Ovarian Cancer Research Program believe they can reduce the number of deaths from one specific subtype by 50 per cent over the next 20 years.

"Ovarian cancer touches many British Columbian families, yet information about this particular type of cancer is not widely known," said Virginia Greene, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia and an ovarian cancer patient. "September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Take a few minutes to talk to the women in your life and make sure they know the facts about ovarian cancer."

British Columbia's investment in cancer care and control has increased substantially in the last few years. Total expenditures for the BC Cancer Agency were $498 million in 2009-10, projecting to increase to $517 million in 2010-11. This is an increase of more than 151 per cent from $206 million in 2000-01.