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Canadian figure skater Gilles announces she had Stage 1 ovarian cancer

Piper Gilles Paul Poirier Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier - The Canadian Press

Canadian figure skater Piper Gilles says she has been treated for Stage 1 ovarian cancer.

Gilles made the announcement Sunday in a video on Instagram and promised more details on an upcoming television appearance on "The Social." Gilles and ice dance partner Paul Poirer had missed several competitions this past figure skating season after she had her appendix removed in January.

She revealed in her video post that the procedure was more complex than she had originally disclosed and included removing her left ovary.

"So when I went in for surgery, I actually did have to get my appendix out as a precaution because we weren't sure what type of tumour was inside of me, on my left ovary," said Gilles, speaking directly to camera. "So I wanted to tell you that I wasn't completely lying. Our team basically wanted to protect myself and protect Paul."

Gilles and Poirier started the 2022-23 figure skating season strong, winning gold at Skate Canada in October, the Grand Prix of Espoo in November, and the Grand Prix Final in December. They then took a medical leave of absence so Gilles could address her cancer, and returned to win bronze at the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in late March.

The 31-year-old Gilles said she waited to disclose her diagnosis because she needed time to digest it emotionally, especially as her mother died from cancer.

"So it was really just to kind of protect myself and let myself focus on what I wanted to do and that was finishing the season off strong and medalling at worlds," said Gilles. "I know we got bronze but for myself, and I know for Paul, it really feels like we won gold because of everything that we had been through just to even be there and perform it."

She and Poirier also represented Canada at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

When she is completely recovered she and Poirier intend to perform in touring ice shows.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2023.