Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Minjoung (Monica) Koo

Research interests

  • Early diagnosis of cancer
  • Primary care data and electronic healthcare records
  • Quality deviation and efficiency of healthcare


Diagnosing cancer earlier is important for clinical outcomes and patient experience. Understanding the factors that influence intervals before the diagnosis of cancer is an important part of achieving earlier diagnosis. Previous research has described variation in the time between symptom onset and first medical consultation (patient interval) and time between first consultation and referral to specialist services (primary care interval) by cancer. Symptoms are likely to be important mediators of these intervals, but high quality evidence examining this association is limited. 

My PhD will use data from a national cancer audit in primary care to assess the relative frequency of presenting symptoms in cancer patients and their associations with intervals before diagnosis. The resulting findings may be used to support the design and delivery of public health interventions and healthcare policies that promote the earlier diagnosis of cancer.

I studied Biomedical Sciences (BSc) and Public Health (MPH) at Imperial College London and worked as an epidemiologist for a data intelligence company before starting a PhD at UCL. My PhD is funded by the Dept of Health's Policy Research Unit and I am supervised by Dr Yoryos Lyratzopoulos (EPH UCL), Dr Christian von Wagner (EPH UCL), and Dr Gary Abel (Exeter university).






2012-13: Masters in Public Health MPH, Imperial College London

2009-12: Biomedical Sciences BSc (Hons), Imperial College London


Koo, M. M., Zhou, Y., & Lyratzopoulos, G. (2015). Delays in diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer: Lessons from US healthcare settings. Cancer Epidemiology, 39(6), 1145-1147. doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2015.08.008