Café Scientifique on Ovarian Cancer. Let knowledge be your weapon

Too many women continue to die from ovarian cancer due to a simple lack of awareness. (February 2009)

On the evening of February 18, the Cafe des Beaux-Arts welcomed our 5th Cafe Scientifique. In an atmosphere of tranquility, the audience listened and asked questions as our experts, who are actively involved in research and treatment of ovarian cancer, discussed the causes of this silent killer, the different stages of the disease and the usefulness of early detection.

Our experts of the evening included: Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, MUHC and Associate Professor of Medicine, McGill University; Dr. Lorraine Portelance, Radiation Oncologist, MUHC and Dr. William Foulkes, Professor, Departments of Human Genetics, Oncology and Medicine, and Director, Program in Cancer Genetics, McGill University

Host:

Gerri Barrer

Gerri Barrer,
former health reporter for CBC,
based in Montreal

Presenters

Dr. Lucy Gilbert, Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, MUHC and Associate Professor of Medicine, McGill University

Dr. William Foulkes, Professor, Departments of Human Genetics, Oncology and Medicine, and Director, Program in Cancer Genetics, McGill University

Dr. Lorraine Portelance, Radiation Oncologist, MUHC

Q & A


1. What are the risk factors associated with hormone replacement therapy?
2. Why, if ovulation is a factor in preventing ovarian cancer, is the highest prevalence of ovarian cancer after menopause?
3. It is known that women who have many children have a lower incidence of ovarian cancer. Is this because they are ovulating less?
4. Did you say there was a link between ovarian and breast cancer, and is there a link with polycystic ovaries?


5. Can you explain what you meant by a DNA hit?
6. There are many symptoms of ovarian cancer listed; Could you differentiate between the higher-risk vs. the more mundane ones?
7. Do these symptoms have to occur consistently or periodically to warrant concern?
8. Should women then understand that if they have one of these symptoms, they should not go to have their doctor investigate?
9. Is there any scientifically proven nutritional advice you could give that could help in prevention?
10. As we get older, our bodies produce less enzymes. Does eating fruits or vegetables help us to compensate for that loss?
11. So scientifically speaking, taking enzymes of any sort wouldn’t make a difference in prevention?

12. Est-ce que le test de dépistage de cellules génétique est le même pour le cancer des ovaires que pour les autres types de cancer? (Is the test cell genetics is the same for ovarian cancer than for other types of cancer?)
13. Is there work being done to try to find genetic commonalities between the ovarian cancers that aren’t related to the “BRCA” genes? (genes involved in breast cancer)
14. Do we perhaps think we’re dealing with a range of different diseases that express themselves in the ovaries?
15. Can a gynecologist detect ovarian cancer without using the ultrasound scan?
16. Your literature indicates that you will test people who have had symptoms for longer than 2 weeks and less than a year; What about people who don’t fall into that category?
17. Some women are seeking out trans-vaginal ultrasounds outside of the research context. Are they being misled when they pay for these investigations?
18. How do you distinguish between abnormal bloating and PMS/high salt intake bloating?
19. What is the age distribution of people with ovarian cancer?

20. Is there a plan to sensitize physicians to the existence of the DOVE project?
21. So should any woman (whether over or under 50) come to DOVE if their physician dismisses their symptoms as common?
22. Should a woman start to be concerned when she experiences a symptom that is considered common (i.e. bloating), differently than how she usually experiences it?
23. At what point then do women who are experiencing symptoms get diagnosed?
24. When will you know the results for the DOVE study?