With vaccination, early detection, and effective management, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer. Yet, in 2017, approximately 1,550 Canadian women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and an estimated 400 died from it.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $10 million over 5 years from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This funding will support national cervical cancer research to be led by world-renowned physician and researcher, Dr. Gina Ogilvie and her team at the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s, the BC Elimination of Cervical Cancer Task Force, and her colleagues at the Gynecological Cancer Initiative.
More specifically, the researchers will study human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and screening methods and work to implement their findings at a national level, with the goal of improving the health of Canadians. Their work will contribute to the global call for action toward the elimination of cervical cancer.
This announcement was made on the sidelines of the Women Deliver 2019 Conference.
“We know too many cervical cancers are still diagnosed at the last stage of the disease, and our government is investing in research to change that. This funding will support Dr. Gina Ogilvie and her team at the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s as they explore new strategies to better prevent and treat cervical cancer for all Canadians.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“Our team has the convergence of skills, expertise, and, frankly, the passion to move forward and be the global catalyst to eliminate cervical cancer.”
Dr. Gina Ogilvie, MD MSc FCFP DrPH
Professor, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
Senior Research Advisor, BC Women’s Hospital
“Improving the health of women begins with research. And research transcends all geographical boundaries. BC Women’s Health Foundation is encouraged by, and deeply grateful, for the Government of Canada’s commitment to investing in women’s health.”
Genesa M. Greening
President and CEO, BC Women’s Health Foundation
Statistics on cervical cancer show that the cancer tends to occur in midlife and is most frequently found in women aged 35 to 59.
Immigrants and Indigenous women are at higher risk due to access barriers, lack of awareness, and lack of culturally-safe and client-centred screening programs.
HPV is the cause of the majority of cervical cancers. HPV is so common that the majority of sexually active women get the virus at some point in their lives.
The World Health Organization recently announced that the elimination of cervical cancer is now one of its top priorities.
Over the last five years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has invested $18.8 million in cervical cancer research, with overall cancer research investments representing $821 million.
British Columbia has been a world leader in cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment for decades. BC Women’s Health Foundation has committed to raising $10 million to create comprehensive vaccine and screening education and awareness campaigns.