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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis of childhood, teenage and young adult cancers


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis of childhood, teenage and young adult cancers

What is the aim of the study and why is it important?

In the United Kingdom (UK), the commonest cause of death in children, teenage and young adults (TYA) is cancer. Diagnostic delays are known to play a role. By increasing delays, the COVID-19 pandemic may worryingly contribute to worsening morbidity and mortality associated with cancer. There is an urgent need to explore the extent of these delays.

Using the UK’s largest general practice (GP) database, QResearch, we will identify children and TYA who have been diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic period and compare the characteristics and length of time taken to diagnose their cancer to those who were diagnosed three consecutive years prior to the pandemic.

Our goal is to ensure that appropriate policy and awareness strategies are put in place now, preparing us for the recovery period and any future resurgence of COVID-19 or other pandemic threats.

Chief Investigator

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox


University of Oxford

Location of research

University of Oxford

Date on which research approved


Project reference ID


Generic ethics approval reference


Are all data accessed are in anonymised form?


Brief summary of the dataset to be released (including any sensitive data)

General Practice data: demographics, symptoms, diagnoses (of leukaemias, lymphomas, central nervous system tumours, sarcomas, and Wilms tumour), number of presentations, referral type, ICD9, and ICD10 codes.

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data: admission route, diagnoses, ICD9, and ICD10, as above.

Civil Registry data: date and cause of death.

Cancer Registry data: diagnosis (type and site of cancer), date of diagnosis, stage of cancer, and route to diagnosis.

Funding Source

University ofOxford COVID-19 Research Response Fund (0009397)

Research Team

Dr Defne Saatci, University of Oxford

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, University of Oxford

Dr Jason Oke, University of Oxford

Professor Anthony Harnden, University of Oxford

Approval Letters

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Download Approval Letter amendment 1


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