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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Cancer Detection and Diagnosis Unit


A medical staff overseeing a patient's X-Ray scan

UNIT LEADS Fiona Walter
and Stephen Duffy

Our work evaluates approaches to cancer detection and diagnosis to reduce late diagnosis when curative treatment is no longer possible. Before their cancer diagnosis, patients may experience symptoms or have changes in blood and other biomarkers which are detectable by screening, thereby creating a time window in which testing may help to make a timely diagnosis when curative treatment is likely. We work across a range of cancers from the five most common in the UK (breast, lung, prostate, bowel, skin) to less common cancers of the pancreas, oesophagus/gullet and brain.

We achieve this by a combination of clinical and behavioural studies in community, primary and hospital settings and within the existing NHS Cancer Screening Programmes in the UK. For these activities we hold major programme funding from the National Institute for Health & Care Research and (NIHR) via the Department of Health and Social Care and the School for Primary Care Research, as well as charities including  Cancer Research UK and Barts Charity. We also lead an NIHR Global Health Group advancing early diagnosis of cancer (breast, cervical and bowel) in Southern Africa.

We aim to:
-    Evaluate existing screening programmes and proposed screening innovations; 
-    Enhance timely diagnosis of cancer in primary care, focusing on biomarkers, imaging, and AI/machine learning approaches;
-    Address patient and healthcare system barriers to early detection and timely diagnosis of cancer.


Prof. Stephen Duffy

Prof. Fiona Walter

Prof. Suzanne Scott

Dr. Oleg Blyuss

Dr. Georgia Black

Dr. Samantha Quaife

Dr. Judith Offman

Dr. Garth Funston

Dr. Grace Okoli

Dr. Yin Zhou



Charterhouse Square

Robyn Collins, 

Veneta Petrosyan, 



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