About the Center

Women’s cancers occur predominantly or exclusively in women. These include breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers. Together, Women’s Cancers Center members do research to improve understanding and management of these cancers. The center has these broad goals:

  • Improve cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survival
  • Expand genetic testing for those predisposed to cancer
  • Identify cancers that are likely to spread
  • Overcome barriers to screening
  • Expand community outreach activities and remain dedicated to involving the community and listening to our patients

 A Sample of Current Projects

  • Identifying barriers to HPV vaccination. Women’s Cancers Center researchers have completed a statewide HPV vaccination survey and conducted focus groups to assess barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccination in the Mountain West. They are working to identify key strategies for improving vaccination rates among adolescent boys and girls ages 11-12. 
  • Treating ovarian cancer. Antibody-based therapies are on the cutting edge of ovarian cancer treatment. These antibodies stop tumor growth by activating immune responses, sequestering growth factors, or acting as targeting moieties to deliver therapeutics. Antibodies against immune check point pathways prevent cancer cells from being able to hide from the immune system.
  • Developing blood tests to identify breast and ovarian cancers. An ongoing study uses simple blood samples to find ways to detect and monitor solid. The Women’s Cancers Center is now exploring whether these markers are present in patients at all stages of disease and whether the markers change in response to surgery and other therapies.

Women’s Cancers Center Leader

Cindy B. Matsen, MD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery
Cancer Center Bio