But I'm Too Young!
A Case Study of Ovarian Cancer
Department of Biology
Western Kentucky University
Winona State University
In this “clicker case,” students are introduced to Abby, a college student who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As they follow Abby’s plight, students learn about basic cellular and genetic mechanisms that are responsible for cancer formation, gaining a general understanding of how cells become cancerous through genetic mutations, how cancers can spread throughout the body by metastasizing, and how modern medicine is currently treating patients diagnosed with cancer through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Developed for use in a large introductory biology course, the case consists of a PowerPoint (~2MB) presented in class that is punctuated by multiple-choice questions the students answer using “clickers.” The case can be adapted for use without these technologies.
- Define cancer and differentiate between benign and malignant tumors.
- Explain that cancers result from mutations in genes that control the cell cycle.
- Understand how cancerous cells move around the body.
- Know the difference between tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, and understand how these genes contribute to cancer formation.
KeywordsOvarian cancer; genetic mutation; benign tumor; malignant tumor; BRCA1; BRCA2; tumor suppressor genes; oncogenes
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Cell Biology | Medicine (General) | Genetics / Heredity |