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OVARIAN CANCER CANADA

The GOC News | Fall 2018

World Recognizes An Awareness Deficit As Canadian Women Hold Out Hope

A new international survey shows that Canadian women with ovarian cancer rate our government 4.6 out of 10 on efforts to address ovarian cancer. Current records show that research into this disease has been underfunded for years. With these shortfalls stalling scientific progress, survival rates have not improved in five decades. To confront the status quo, Ovarian Cancer Canada is mobilizing nationwide advocacy drives to urge the federal government to step up investments in support of improved treatments where few new options have been made publicly available since the 1990s. Earlier this month, Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas TaylordiscussedtheneedforactionwithElisabethBaugh, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada; Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden, Corinne Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research; and Julee Pauling, a woman facing recurrence. “When we’re banging on drums to say that we’re still here, it makes people notice. It makes people care,”says Julee. “At our meeting, I encountered another human being; another woman who really listened and offered her support to us as we go through the machinery of government.” Alongside these efforts, results of the largest and most comprehensive international survey on ovarian cancer were released at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Munich on October 18. The World Ovarian Cancer Coalition: Every Woman Study comprises information from over 1,500 ovarian cancer patients in 44 countries to understand more about the experience of this disease internationally. Global findings: · Over two thirds (69.1%) of women with ovarian cancer had not heard of the disease, or did not know anything about it before diagnosis

· On average, 78.3% of women consulted a doctor about symptoms · On average, 54.7% of women had undergone genetic testing either before or after diagnosis The 156 Canadian respondents to the survey presented marked differences. Canadians were: · More likely to report knowing lots or something about ovarian cancer prior to diagnosis (40.1% vs. 30.5%) · More likely to consult a health professional about symptoms (85% vs. 78.3%) · More likely to have had genetic testing either before or after diagnosis (66.9% vs. 54.7%) “Having moved the mark on awareness with our programs and certainly the campaign that sparked national debate about ladyballs, we’re at an exciting turning point where we have to reach beyond awareness to advocacy,” says Elisabeth Baugh, who is also Chair of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition. “ The Every Woman Study shows us that Canadians living with ovarian cancer are well aware of the realities of this disease and they look to the government to assume some responsibility for changes that will ultimately save their lives.” “Worldwide, incidence rates of ovarian cancer are on the rise. As home to a cadre of leading scientists in the field, Canada has a chance to shine on the world stage by being a part of the solution to this global issue,” she continues.“A $10 million federal investment in research would enable our researchers to collaborate nationally on the major challenges standing in the way of better outcomes.”

The Every Woman Study is a global call to action, one that is already gaining traction in Canada. Ovarian Cancer Canada is appealing to more Canadians to voice their concerns about this neglected issue in women’s health, and in so doing spur national decision makers to help save women’s lives. “There’s something about facing a disease that is a generation behind others. There’s sadness that we are so far behind, but there’s also great hope because we are so close,” adds Julee. “It’s like we’re fighting for all women, not just ourselves. That makes it all the more important that we keep pushing.” With Canada’s next federal budget expected in February 2019, deliberations are already underway. Your federal elected representative needs to hear from you about the need for more ovarian cancer research. When you send her or him a letter using the tool at ovariancanada. org/advocate, the Minister of Health will automatically receive a copy. Already sent a letter? Invite your family and friends to do the same. You’ll find helpful tips at This conversation can save lives. URLs: Every woman study: https:// worldovariancancercoalition.org/every-woman/ Letter to Minister of Health template: https://ovariancanada.org/Get-Involved/Advocate/ Email-your-elected-reps This conversation saves lives: https://ovariancanada. org/Get-Involved/Advocate/Get-your-community-

involved/This-conversation-can-save-lives *the online issue of The GOC News includes the hyperlinks. You can access it on this page: https://g-o-c.org/publications/goc-news/

The GOC News is printed on a semi-annual basis. Please send any comments or news to the co-Editors c/o Hélène Soublière, National Association Manager via email at hsoubliere@g-o-c.org. Co-Editors: Dr. Marette Lee and Dr.Vanessa Samouëlian GOC 2781 Lancaster Rd., Suite 200, Ottawa, ON K1B 1A7 Tel: 1 800 561-2416 or 613-730-4192 ext. 250 Fax: 613-730-4314 E-mail: hsoubliere@g-o-c.org Web: www.g-o-c.org

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