Early Detection

What is early detection?

  • Early detection is the detection of cancer at the earliest possible stage, when the disease is easiest to treat.
  • Early 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.
  • Cancers can be detected earlier through a number of approaches, including screening programmes across the population, surveillance of people with high-risk conditions and individual personal education to support early diagnosis of warning signs for potential cancer.

Why is early detection important?

  • When cancer is found earlier, it can be easier to treat successfully – often requiring fewer complex and expensive treatments.
  • The chance of survival is higher for early stage cancers but currently, nearly half of all cancers in England are diagnosed at an advanced stage.
  • Our research aims to help identify cancers earlier so that more patients can benefit from treatment which is likely to cure them, with fewer adverse side effects, and a reduction in the economic burden of advanced cancer.

Early detection research in Oxford

The Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection (OxCODE) brings together high calibre multi-disciplinary early cancer detection researchers from across Oxford to collaborate and maximise research outputs in this area. OxCODE’s vision is to harness our existing strengths and expertise to generate a Quantitative Risk Score – the ‘Oxford QR code’– an integrated multi-parameter readout to stratify an individual’s risk of developing malignant cancer. This will enable early detection with accompanying prognostic information for patient benefit.

The Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection welcomes members from across the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals Trust. If you wish to join the OxCODE mailing list to hear about future events and funding opportunities, please email.

More Early Detection research in Oxford: