Ovarian Cancer Canada establishes Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force to help decrease incidence of the disease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, CANADA – The most effective way to save lives from ovarian cancer is through prevention. Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC), researchers and clinicians in Canada, and individuals with lived experience join forces to establish The Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force.

The Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force

The Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force

With funding from The AstraZeneca-Merck Alliance, the Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force aims to educate family doctors and people at high-risk and engage individuals with a predisposed genetic mutation as partners in vital research.

The prevention pathway is not being effectively implemented across Canada. According to OCC’s Every Woman Study: Canadian Edition, 68% of patients with a family history of ovarian cancer in a first degree relative received genetic testing after diagnosis. And 13% were not offered genetic testing at all. These are missed opportunities.

By maximizing the identification of people at increased genetic risk and maximizing the uptake of risk-reducing surgery, hundreds of lives could be saved every year.

“OCC is making way for generations who won't have to face this disease,”

“OCC is making way for generations who won’t have to face this disease,” says Tania Vrionis, CEO, OCC. “We are uniquely positioned as a central link between the different communities directly affected by ovarian cancer. Through our Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force, we are convening the research community and our patient partners, and working with leading minds to prioritize advocacy and research that can effectively reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and prevent the disease before it starts.”

“The AstraZeneca-Merck Alliance is proud to be partnering with Ovarian Cancer Canada on cancer prevention,” says Erik Schrader, Vice President and Head of Oncology at AstraZeneca Canada. “Through increased awareness of hereditary or family risk factors for cancer, combined with cancer prevention, and cancer screening, we believe this initiative has real potential to reduce the number of people not only diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, but also breast, prostate, pancreatic and other cancers in the very near future.”

“This taskforce represents a unique opportunity to adopt a proactive approach by leveraging collective resources and expertise,” expresses André Galarneau, PhD, Executive Director & Vice President, Oncology Business Unit at Merck Canada. “Through targeted research, education and patient advocacy, we can work towards making meaningful strides in the prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer, in hopes of improving outcomes for patients and their families.”

Collaborative research, knowledge mobilization, and advocacy are at the core of the Ovarian Cancer Prevention Task Force. Members are determined to help save lives by elevating the voices of those with lived experience and improving care along the ovarian cancer prevention pathway.


About Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC)
OCC is the only registered Canadian charity solely dedicated to eradicating ovarian cancer and preventing it from the future. OCC demands action, delivers change, and transforms lives. OCC stands hand-in-hand with the people experiencing, affected by, or at risk and will not rest until women are able to live their lives freely, fully, and uninhibited by ovarian cancer. Learn more: ovariancanada.org.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business whose innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. The company’s core areas of scientific focus are Oncology; Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic (CVRM); Rare Disease; Respiratory & Immunology; and Vaccine & Immune Therapies. In Canada, the company employs more than 1,700 people and recently announced a major expansion of its research footprint in Mississauga – including the expansion of its AstraZeneca R&D Hub and the creation of a new Alexion Development Hub for Rare Diseases. AstraZeneca was recently recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and a Greater Toronto Top Employer.
AstraZeneca is committed to contributing to a more sustainable future for people, society and planet taking important steps to help tackle some of the most pressing sustainability challenges globally – from climate and biodiversity loss to health equity and health system resilience. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.astrazeneca.ca.

About Merck
At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit https://www.merck.ca and connect with us on LinkedIn and X @MerckCanada.