Childhood cancer research in Oxford I: the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancers

J. F. Bithell, G. J. Draper, Thomas Sorahan, C. A. Stiller

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Significant research on the epidemiology and natural history of childhood cancer took place in the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham over sixty years. This is the first of three papers recording this work and describes the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancers (OSCC), the largest case-control survey of childhood cancer ever undertaken.

Methods: The OSCC studied deaths in Britain from 1953-1981. Parents were interviewed and medical records from ante-natal clinics and treatment centres were followed up and abstracted. The survey left Oxford in 1975 and was run subsequently from Birmingham. The data are now being documented and archived to make them available for future study.

Results: Many papers have resulted from this survey, most notably those relating to the association first reported therein between childhood cancer and ante-natal X-raying. This paper is a historical review of the OSCC.

Conclusion: In spite of many analyses of the study, this historic data set has continuing value because of the large number of examples of some very rare tumours and the detailed clinical and family history data that are available; and also because of the possibility of carrying out new analyses to investigate emerging research issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-762
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date21 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2018


  • Childhood cancer
  • childhood leukaemia
  • survey
  • case-control study
  • obstetric irradiation
  • aetiology


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