COVID and Cancer: Screening, Testing and Epidemiology


We think about our health. It’s very personal and we constantly make choices. What happens when we stop thinking about our own health and try to think about public health. The health of whole communities consisting of millions of people?

This day-school will explore some critical ideas that we need to embrace if we wish to understand the decisions that are made by Public Health England, NIHCE, the NHS and the Government.

The course will begin by exploring what we mean by public health. We will explore how to think about large numbers of people. The challenges and possibilities of data on this scale, the advantages of the NHS and what happens when you have to pay for it.

The second session will introduce non-infectious disease.  We will look at cancer and discuss what causes cancer and what the evidence looks like. By looking at the British doctor’s survey we will discover the scope and limitations of even a successful study.

The third session deals with screening. How do we screen people in the context of cancer? We will explore cervical screening, prostate screening and breast screening. What can you achieve and what harms can you do?

The final session will introduce infectious disease. We will think about how you identify the causative agent and the possible challenges. We will explore testing and its pitfalls and look at the possibilities and perils of testing for COVID.

Programme details

9.45am: Registration

10.00am: Public Health – how to deal with populations, Dr Martin Christlieb

11.15a: Coffee/tea

11.45am: The epidemiology of cancer, Dr Isobel Barnes

1.00pm: Lunch

2.00pm: Screening for cancer, Dr Isobel Barnes

3.15pm: Coffee/tea

3.45pm: Testing for Infectious disease, Dr Martin Christlieb

5.00pm: Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance £80.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £80.00
Baguette Lunch £5.50


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Martin Christlieb


Martin is the public engagement manager for the Dept of Oncology.  Before that he was involved in research to develop cancer imaging.  In his spare time he is a mountaineer, climber and the Adventure Training Officer for Thames Valley Air Cadets.

IT requirements

You can opt to attend this hybrid teaching event either online (via a livestream) or in person at Rewley House, Oxford. You will be given the option of how you wish to attend during the enrolment process. You can only pick one option. If your preferred attendance format is fully booked, you can email us to be put on the waiting list.

For those joining us online

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Teams interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.