World Ovarian Cancer Day: Montreal research project still going strong

May 8th, 2014 is World Ovarian Cancer Day. On this day, ovarian cancer organizations from around the world unite to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, its symptoms and the treatments available. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day builds a sense of solidarity in the fight against the disease.

  • Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women
  • Every year, 2,600 new cases are diagnosed in Canada and more than 600 are diagnosed in Quebec
  • 70% of women that are affected will be diagnosed with an advanced stage of ovarian cancer (stage 3-4)
  • The survival rate of ovarian cancer diagnosed late is 10% to 30% but can go up to 93% if diagnosed early
  • The chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100

Dr. Lucy Gilbert, director of Gynecologic Cancer Service at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), is leading a unique clinical research project specialized in early diagnosis of ovarian cancer and a form of uterine cancer that behaves like ovarian cancer. The project is called DOvEE (Diagnosing ovarian and endometrial cancer early). 

More than 3,000 women in the Montreal area have been enrolled in this project since it was first started in 2008 under the name DOvE. Dr. Gilbert’s team has been extending efforts in order to offer fast-track open-access diagnostic tests to symptomatic eligible women, thus improving chances of survival for women who receive a cancer diagnostic.

Although DOvE was started with only ovarian cancer in mind, the project also helped diagnose a form of endometrial cancer which behaved exactly like ovarian cancer. Thus, the project has now evolved to DOvEE. The team is working on identifying a special screening test to diagnose ovarian and endometrial cancer early, even before women develop symptoms. Dr. Gilbert and her team hope that in a few years this screening test will do for ovarian and endometrial cancer what the Pap test achieved for cervical cancer – reducing death rates by more than 70%. 

The original DOvE study, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the MUHC Foundation, will remain active for several years. Six satellite clinics have opened on the island of Montreal and South Shore to provide easy access to eligible women. A new satellite clinic will open on the North Shore by the end of June. 

For more information about the DOvEE Project:

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DoVEE media spokespersons:  

  • Dr. Lucy Gilbert, DOvEE Principal Investigator, and MUHC Director of Gynecologic Cancer Service (Interviews in English)
  • Dr. Michel Welt, DOvEE co-investigator and Head of the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal (Interviews in French) 


  • Mrs. Carole Prigionero, who was diagnosed through DOvEE in 2011(Interviews in English)
  • Mrs. Houda Moussallier, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but was not a DOvEE participant (Interviews in French) 

Dovee Team 

To organize an interview with the DOvEE team, please contact:

MUHC Public Affairs 514-843-1560

[email protected]