Women's Health

Biomedical Engineering Student Seeks to Understand Early Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Flanigan hopes to understand more about how the cancer starts

Through his research alongside the Pamela Kreeger Lab, which is a part of the Wisconsin Institute of Medical Research, Flanigan hopes to better understand the earliest stages of ovarian cancer. “We’re trying to figure out how ovarian cancer starts, so we can try and target something earlier on,” he said. Since a majority of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, this has led to unsatisfactory outcomes for survival rates. Diagnosis is rather difficult because symptoms of ovarian cancer are quite similar to other conditions. For instance, symptoms of this type of cancer, such as bloating and lower abdominal pain, can be hard to differentiate from the symptoms of menstruation. Even in women who are postmenopausal, diagnosis is tricky until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, in which case it is almost incurable.