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.

For more information about Oxford’s early cancer detection research, see the Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection website.

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:

New prostate cancer risk tool

A new calculator has been developed by Professors Julia Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland to help GPs prioritise patients at high risk of prostate cancer.

Understanding mutation progression to detect ovarian cancer earlier

Nina Wietek from the Ahmed lab is investigating fallopian tube tissue to see what we can understand about precancerous mutations in the tissue from which ovarian cancers develops.

New study investigates how growth factors in our gut could initiate cancer

Dr Francesco Boccellato is investigating the mechanisms of tissue regulation in the healthy stomach and in a pre-cancerous condition known as atrophic gastritis. This may help to identify those who may have cancer, as well as find new ways to prevent cancer from progressing

Oxford success at the early detection sandpit on pancreatic cancer

Professor Eric O’Neill and Dr Pui San Tan receive funding as part of teams applying novel approaches for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
An animation showing a dial with green, amber and red risk levels for myeloma

New clinical prediction tools for myeloma

Dr Constantinos Koshiaris has developed clinical prediction models for use in primary care with the aim of accelerating myeloma diagnoses.

Early Detection Award for research into the clinical application of single cell genomics

Dr Onima Chowdhury will investigate the clinical application of single cell sequencing for early diagnosis and response prediction in myelodysplastic syndromes.
Doctor looking at skin

Higher testosterone levels in men linked to greater melanoma risk

New research from Dr Eleanor Watts at the Nuffield Department of Population Health has found this association for the first time

New funding for early diagnosis research using platelets

Dr Bethan Psaila and her team will investigate the potential of circulating blood platelets for early detection of a range of cancer types.

Oxford spin out influencing patient care world wide

Oxford cancer research spin our Optellum has received FDA clearance for the world’s first AI-powered clinical decision support for early lung cancer diagnosis