PRiCAN Symposium 2024

Join us at our Inaugural PRiCAN Research symposium, a pivotal event dedicated to advancing primary care cancer research. In this symposium we will delve into the critical field of primary care cancer research, which plays a pivotal role in enhancing healthcare outcomes.

Primary care cancer research is at the forefront of improving how we prevent, detect, and manage cancer within primary healthcare settings – where patients often initiate their medical journey. Our symposium highlights the significance of primary care in the context of cancer, aiming to revolutionise the patient experience from the outset of suspicion, through diagnosis and throughout the continuum of care.

Renowned experts and emerging talents alike will present their findings, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and a spirit of intellectual curiosity.

Join us at this PRiCAN research symposium and be a part of this transformative discussion, where we explore innovative approaches, and share groundbreaking insights.

Together, we are shaping the future of primary care in the fight against cancer! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be at the forefront of change and discovery!

Registration is now live!

Keynote Speakers

Professor Brian Nicholson, MRCGP DPhil, Associate Professor, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Brian’s academic interests include cancer, global health, and evidence-based diagnosis.

His research aims to improve the diagnostic process for patients with symptoms of cancer. This work focuses on understanding symptoms, appropriate test use, and developing clinical pathways. He leads the departmental Cancer Theme that conducts research in four main areas: health records data; implementation science; diagnostic reasoning; and clinical trials and prospective studies. He is Early Detection lead for the CRUK Oxford Cancer Centre investigating community-based multi-cancer early detection testing. 

He is an NHS GP in Oxford City.

Dr. Heather Burns, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NCCP

Dr. Heather Burns is a Consultant in Public Health Medicine, and is Public Health Lead for Early Diagnosis of Cancer in the HSE National Cancer Control Programme. Dr Burns led the development of the NCCP Early Diagnosis of Symptomatic Cancer Plan, which outlines a strategic, comprehensive approach towards improving early diagnosis of cancer in Ireland. Her work in the NCCP includes service improvement and health improvement.

Dr Burns completed medical training in University College Dublin in 2010. She undertook specialist training in General Practice, before completing Higher Specialist Training in Public Health Medicine in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland between 2016 and 2020. She achieved her Master’s Degree in Public Health from UCD in 2017, and holds postgraduate qualifications in Executive Healthcare Leadership. In June 2020 she took up her current position in the HSE National Cancer Control Programme.


Dr. James O’Mahony

James is an Assistant Professor at the School of Economics at University College Dublin where he is employed as an Ad Astra Fellow. He also has a research affiliation with the Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam. He is an economist by training and his research primarily addresses the cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of cancer screening. His broader research interests include CEA methods in general, simulation modelling and the use of CEA by decision makers. James obtained his PhD from Trinity College Dublin and his thesis addressed methodological issues in CEAs of cancer screening. During his doctoral work he was a visiting student for two years at the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam. James is a member of Ireland’s National Screening Advisory Committee convened following the Scally Report in response to the CervicalCheck controversy.


Carmel Geoghegan

Carmel became primary carer to her mum Angela in 2010.  Angela received a very late diagnosis of vascular /frontotemporal dementia. Carmel cared for her mother until the end of life. This life changing experience began Carmel’s advocating for the voice of persons with a disability and the primary carer / family. She established Dementia Ireland Empowering Communities with an emphasis on education to reduce the misunderstanding attached to a diagnosis and empower those affected to voice their needs, fears and be involved in the decisions that affect them.            This advocacy work centres on the importance of including the voice of the person in all interactions relating to them and in particular ensuring that their voice is central at all stages of research including the planning, consultation and translation of outcomes arising from the research into actions. Carmel also highlights the inconsistency and/or lack of services and support between urban/rural settings.

Location: The Albert Lecture Theatre, RCSI, 123 St Stephen’s Green

Date: MARCH 22, 2024

Register now! 

For more information please email 

08.30 – 09:00am – Registration and Continental breakfast (Robert Smith Room & Front Hall)

09:00 – 09.10am – Welcome Address (Albert Lecture Theatre)
– Symposium Chair Prof Redmond

09.10 – 09.45am – Keynote Address: Progress and priorities for risk stratification in Primary Care by Prof Brian Nicholson, General Practitioner & Associate Professor, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

09.45 – 10.05am – Speaker 2 – The Cancer Landscape in Ireland – the Irish Cancer Society perspective by Dr Claire Kilty, Head of Research, Irish Cancer Society

10.05 – 10.25am – Speaker 3 – Cost-Effectiveness of Cancer Screening: Evidence, Remaining Questions and Policy Hurdles by Dr James O’ Mahony, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, UCD.

10.25 – 11.00 am – Plenary Session 1 – Panel Discussion

11.00 – 11.15 am – Coffee Break (Front Hall)

11.30 – 12.00 – Speaker 4 – Early detection of cancer – The role of evidence in policymaking by Dr. Heather Burns, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, National Cancer Control Programme

12.00 – 12.20 –Speaker 5 – “From Patients to Partners: Shaping the Future of Primary Care Cancer Research” by Carmel Geoghegan, PRiCAN PPIE Patient Lead

12.30pm –1.00pm – Plenary Session 2 – Panel Discussion

1.00 – 2.00pm Lunch (Front Hall)
– PRiCAN Scholars Network – poster session (Atrium)

2.00 pm – 3.00pm – WORKSHOPS (Robert Smith Room; President’s Room; VC Room)
– Session 3A: “Patient and Public Involvement in Primary Care Cancer Research in Ireland” (Facilitator: Sophie Dolan)
– Session 3B: “Research Priorities for Early Cancer Detection in Ireland” (Facilitator: Dr Ben Jacob)

3.00pm – 3.30pm Closing address by Prof Patrick Redmond