Ottawa

Diane Deans diagnosed with 'insidious' ovarian cancer

The veteran Ottawa city councillor announced Monday she's been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and plans to take several months off to focus on her treatment.

'I look forward to returning to the job that I love, healthy and cancer free,' veteran city councillor says

Coun. Diane Deans revealed she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her treatment begins Tuesday. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

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  • On Sept. 25, council granted Coun. Diane Deans a formal leave of absence into 2020.

Coun. Diane Deans has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and plans to take several months off to focus on treatment.

The Gloucester-Southgate councillor announced the diagnosis Monday afternoon in a news release.

"I trust that you will understand my absence from the Council table over the next number of months as my treatment starts tomorrow and I will need to focus all my energy on beating this insidious disease," Deans wrote.

Deans is one of Ottawa city council's most experienced members, having served as a councillor since 1995.

She recently became the first woman to chair Ottawa's police services board, and has championed initiatives to improve representation for women at city hall.

Deans said she had been feeling unwell this past summer and had undergone a battery of medical tests before doctors arrived at the "devastating" diagnosis.

She vowed to continue to serve her constituents and remain in close touch with her staff. 

"I look forward to returning to the job that I love, healthy and cancer free, sometime next year," she wrote.

She declined to speak about her diagnosis, asking for privacy.

Sandy Smallwood, vice-chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, and Deputy Chief Steve Bell spoke to CBC News about Chair Diane Deans, who is taking time off to undergo treatment for ovarian cancer. 0:51

Council colleagues to step in 

Before Deans announced the news of her diagnosis, she spoke with several of her council colleagues and asked police services board member Sandy Smallwood to take over as chair in her absence.

Deans has also asked councillors Riley Brockington and Carol Anne Meehan to oversee matters in her ward until she returns.

"She is a fighter, so fingers crossed we'll hope to see her back in a couple of months," Brockington said Monday afternoon.

Meehan said Deans will be greatly missed at council, especially because she's always willing to ask tough questions. 

"I look to her for a lot of guidance," the first-term councillor said. 

Mayor Jim Watson said he also spoke with Deans Monday morning. He told her not to worry about her duties at city hall.

"We all know that Diane is a fighter and I am convinced she will defeat this diagnosis," he wrote in a statement. 

"We look forward to welcoming her back to her city hall family when she returns to her healthy self."