Research Sections

Section of Early Detection and Prevention

Primary prevention and early detection through screening programmes, improved awareness, and early clinical diagnosis are among the key components of cancer control which, in turn, can lead to a decrease in cancer incidence and mortality in the population. For these initiatives to be successful in reducing cancer burden, efficient and effective implementation with good coverage of the population and quality assurance are essential.

Cancer prevention and early detection are key elements of the Agency's research agenda: elucidating the natural history of cancer; providing scientific evidence on the validity, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of prevention, screening, and early diagnosis approaches; catalysing the wider implementation of evidence-based primary and secondary prevention strategies for common cancers by operational and implementation research; addressing the factors determining population participation in prevention and early detection programmes; providing technical support in the monitoring and evaluation of national early detection programmes in low- and middle-income countries; developing international networks; and contributing to cancer control in general.

The Section comprises three Groups: the Prevention and Implementation Group (PRI), the Quality Assurance Group (QAS), and the Screening Group (SCR). Research projects are conducted predominantly in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America as well as in Europe, and they focus on the prevention and early detection of cervical, breast, head and neck, stomach, colorectal, and anal cancers.

The Section receives funding from, among others, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA, the European Commission, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC); the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA.