Ovarian cancer breakthrough could boost survival rate
Published Friday, February 10, 2012 12:32PM EST
MONTREAL - Ovarian cancer is one of the most feared diseases, as it hard to detect and often leads to death.
And efforts to concoct a solution have been futile, as the cure rate has only been bumped up by two percent in the last three decades.
But a research team at McGill appears to have made a breakthrough by learning that the cancer actual begins in the fallopian tubes.
"We were barking the wrong tree. the name we got it wrong, we got the origin of ovarian cancer wrong. We got the test that we should be using for this wrong," said Dr. Lucy Gilbert, the MUHC oncologist who lead the research.
The revelation has led to better screening of the hard-to-detect condition, which is frequently overlooked because its first symptoms appear benign, they include bloating and more frequent urination.
Carol Prigioniero's condition was first overlooked by medics but by applying McGill's discovery, her dangerous condition was detected.
Gilbert says that their test has yet to miss one case of ovarian cancer thus far.
Prigioniero says that in her case the cancer would not have been detected by conventional testing.
My cancer was in the fallopian tube, they wouldn't have detected it, so I don't know where I would have been today. I am grateful to them. I owe them my life," she said.
Her hopes for living a long life are now much higher. "I know that I am on the right path now," she said.
As part of what the university is calling The Dove Project, a dozen early screening centres are being set up on the island and it could lead to many more across the province.