Early Detection

What is early detection?

  • Early detection refers to efforts that can be taken to diagnose cancer as early as possible, when the disease is easiest to treat.
  • Earlier detection looks to identify those few people at risk of cancer within the larger population, and to assess the best possible actions for those people.
  • This can involve both screening programmes across the population and also individual personal education to support early diagnosis of warning signs for potential cancer.
Click to join Oxford’s Early Cancer Detection Symposium on June 27th!

Why is early detection important?

  • When cancer is found earlier, it can be easier to treat successfully – often requiring fewer complex and expensive treatments.
  • Currently, nearly half of all cancers in England are diagnosed at an advanced stage.
  • We aim to undertake research to help identify cancers earlier, so that more patients can benefit from treatment which is likely to cure them; minimise adverse side effects of many treatments now in current use; and reduce the economic burden of advanced cancer.

Oxford’s Vision

Our early detection vision is to focus on three critical biological stages along the cancer timeline that dictate the trajectory towards malignant cancer development: initiation, progression from precursors and metastasis .

Each stage represents a window of opportunity for early detection to enhance biological understanding and improve patient outcome.

Each stage represents a window of opportunity for early detection to enhance biological understanding and improve patient outcome.

Our aims for early cancer detection in Oxford are to:

  • find those at risk of cancer sooner;
  • identify those for whom intervention is necessary and not treat those who don’t;
  • achieve both of these using the most minimally invasive and implementable detection tools.

Oxford Team

In order to deliver this vision, our research community brings together expertise across epidemiologists, trialists, radiologists, pathologists, primary care physicians, molecular and cellular biologists, chemists, engineers and mathematicians in large interdisciplinary teams. This enables us to effectively realise the potential for cohorts, biomarker discovery, tool development, and artificial intelligence to improve the early detection of cancer.

Early detection of cancer research requires work on early disease biology to understand the initiation and transformation of cancer, but also incorporates cutting edge new technologies for cancer detection, cohort building alongside big data collation/interpretation and eventual economically viable clinical implementation of output within a health service. This can only be achieved by multidisciplinary collaboration.

Examples of how Oxford researchers are working in this way can be found below:

Oxford Early Cancer Detection Symposium

On Thursday 27th June 2019, we will be showcasing a selection of Oxford’s most exciting early cancer detection projects at a one day Symposium at St Hilda’s College to celebrate Oxford’s research in early cancer detection.

The full details of the programme are currently being confirmed but there will be sessions themed on Liquid Biopsy and Other Early Detection Technologies, Digestive System Cancers, and Large Cohort Studies.

Come along to hear about opportunities for how you can apply your research to this burgeoning field. The Symposium is open to members of Oxford University and OUHFT.

Please contact francoise.howe@ludwig.ox.ac.uk with any questions.

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More Early Detection Research in Oxford:

Vision