Ovarian cancer kills five Canadian women everyday. The disease is referred to as a silent killer because the symptoms are often overlooked.
Something Dominique Dagenais knows all too well.
In 2015, the Montrealer was completely caught off guard when she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.
“I didn’t believe it,” she told Global News.
“I said to the doctor, you’ve got the wrong person, it’s impossible.”
Prior to her diagnosis, Dagenais was incredibly active, having completed 13 marathons.
“I didn’t pay attention (to the symptoms), you think it’s a bad day but it’s more than just a bad day.”
She underwent countless treatments, a total hysterectomy and weekly rounds of chemotherapy.
Against all odds, she beat the cancer, although she refuses to say she’s in remission.
“I’m doing well, put it this way. And that to me is a good thing.”
It’s stories like Dagenais’ that inspire Dr. Lucy Gilbert, the director of Gynecologic Oncology at the McGill University Health Centre, to continue the research.
“The problem with these cancers are that they spread while the cancer is microscopic,” she said.
She adds that the survival rates haven’t improved in 50 years but she’s trying to change that with a groundbreaking test that detects the disease in the earliest mutation stages.
WATCH: New ovarian and endometrial cancer screening test
“Women over the age of 45, can go to their doctors every 2-3 years and have this special pap test that will pick up the cancer in its microscopic stage.”
The discovery phase is complete and what’s left now are clinical trials for the next three to four years.
The research, though, comes at a cost. Which is where the Cedars Run for Ovarian Cancer comes in.
The fourth annual event held in the Town of Mount Royal drew over 300 participants and raised over $140,000 to help fund Dr. Gilbert’s Dovee Project.
“Our great hope is that this will make a difference, even little things — eventually big things,” one runner told Global News.
Seen as an incredible inspiration to all those touched by ovarian cancer, Dagenais’ advice to those fighting against the most fatal cancer to women in Canada is to take it day by day.
“If you want to survive cancer, you’ve got to make it not an enemy but a friend. It’s a terrible monster and, if you can, go through it the best you can. That’s what helped me a lot.”