For millions of people worldwide, the correlation between "cancer" and "death" remains an inescapable terror. So when a word like "eradication" enters the cancer lexicon as an outcome, it rightly gains a great deal of attention.
Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Senior Advisor and Assistant Director of the Women's Health Research Institute at BC Women's Hospital, and Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV-related Disease at UBC is on a mission to eradicate cervical cancer in her lifetime – and with her partners across BC, their work is quickly closing the gap in doing so. Her research team focuses on how to use human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and the HPV vaccine to eliminate cervical cancer.
HPV-testing and HPV vaccination are ground-breaking advancements in preventing cervical cancer, and Dr. Ogilvie’s research, which focuses on how to best implement these tools, has placed her at the forefront as a world leader in the global fight to end cervical cancer.
As a result of her team’s work, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted her recommended two-dose vaccination protocol to prevent HPV infection (previously three doses), and Dr. Ogilvie is determined to examine if we can get it down to one, which would have global impacts on the lives of millions of women. Every year, more than 270,000 women worldwide, most of them in the prime of their lives with babies and young families, die from cervical cancer. Without immediate action, by 2030, that number is projected to rise to 500,000. “At last,' says Ogilvie, 'we have the possibility to head down the road to eradication. There’s no question that HPV-testing is the biggest breakthrough in preventing cervical cancer since the Pap smear.”
While Dr. Ogilvie's research is internationally recognized, she is also honoured to be chosen as 2018's Sexual Health Champion by Options for Sexual Health, Canada's largest non-profit provider of sexual health services. “Dr. Ogilvie’s work offers an opportunity to see a future where HPV related cancers don’t exist in Canada.,’ says Options for Sexual Health Executive Director, Michelle Fortin, ‘Having a local expert conduct this work on such a global scale inspires us all to do better.”