Below are the text and video of my statement.
Yesterday, May 8, was World Ovarian Cancer Day, and organizations around the globe shared what we need to “Know Now” about this disease. Ovarian Cancer Canada is the only national charity dedicated to overcoming this disease. Their members were meeting with elected representatives across the country in the lead-up to yesterday’s event. I was privileged to meet with Tracy Kolwich, director, Western region, for Ovarian Cancer Canada, and two local ambassadors for the organization, Katherine Farris and Kit Pearson.
Katherine, an ovarian cancer survivor, and Kit are volunteer advocates who, together with Ovarian Cancer Canada, are working tirelessly to raise public awareness of the need for:
(1) increasing funding for research;
(2) ready access to new treatments as they become available;
(3) improved access to genetic testing; and
(4) genetic fairness to protect against discrimination based on genetic information.
In Canada today, approximately 17,000 women are living with ovarian cancer. It is the fifth most common cancer for women and is the most fatal women’s cancer in Canada. Each year approximately 2,600 women are newly diagnosed, and every year ovarian cancer claims the lives of 1,750 Canadians.
Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and can easily be overlooked because its symptoms can signal a variety of conditions, including abdominal discomfort. Because this disease is often caught in late stages, 70 percent of women diagnosed die within five years of diagnosis. There’s no reliable screening for ovarian cancer, and there is no vaccine to prevent it.
Ovarian Cancer Canada undertakes a number of important initiatives, including providing support for women and families living with the disease; raising awareness and implementing education programs about ovarian cancer; providing and advocating for research funding, including through a new partnership with the Terry Fox Research Institute.
Please let me acknowledge the important work being conducted by Ovarian Cancer Canada. Please let me also applaud the ongoing efforts of two of my constituents — Katherine Farris and Kit Pearson, who continue to work tirelessly as ovarian cancer advocates.