What puts women at risk of ovarian cancer?

James Flanagan Jonathan Krell

Lead researcher: Dr James Flanagan

Where: The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre

Theme: Prevention

Project dates: August 2017 – August 2022  


Dr Flanagan’s research will find out how particular lifestyle factors – such as smoking, alcohol intake, and taking the oral contraceptive pill - affect a woman’s ovarian cancer risk. He aims to do so by studying epigenetic patterns – genetic changes that occur in a person’s DNA in response to lifestyle factors, changes that can sometimes raise a person’s risk of cancer. Dr Flanagan will uncover which epigenetic patterns are associated with ovarian cancer and the lifestyle factors that trigger them. This information will help women understand if and when they’re more likely to develop ovarian cancer.

Where are we now?

The team have received the samples they need, developed new, more effective methods for carrying out their experiments, and started work exploring the effect of the oral contraceptive pill on the ovaries.