Cancer Imaging

Imaging techniques have become an important part of the way in which cancer is detected, in determining how advanced it has become, as an aid in directing surgery and other treatments and to check if it has returned.

Surrey Cancer Research Institute Cancer Imaging Members

Targeted Cancer Therapy Group

Equipment & Resources

In conjunction with the Scientific Computing Section of the Medical Physics Department at the Royal Surrey County Hospital we have developed two tools for other researchers:

Mammography Image Database:
The OPTIMAM Mammography Image Database has been developed for research within OPTIMAM. However this database is also available to other researchers on request.

MedXViewer (Medical Extensible Viewer) is an application designed to allow workstation-independent, PACS-less viewing and interaction with anonymised medical images (e.g. for observer studies). The application was initially implemented for use in digital mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) but the flexible software design allows it to be easily extended to other imaging modalities. The PACS-less nature and design of MedXViewer ensure a consistent and reproducible behaviour at different workstations and centres.

Professor Kenneth C. Young
01483 406736 (Direct)
PA: Fiona McKenner
tel: 01483 408310
Fax: 01483 406742

Research Staff

Professor David Dance

Dr Alistair Mackenzie

Dr Lucy Warren

Dr Premkumar Elangovan

The National Co-ordinating Centre for the Physics of Mammography (NCCPM) is run on behalf of the NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) by the Medical Physics Department of the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The NCCPM is led by Professor Ken Young who is the National QA Physicist for the NHSBSP. The centre has a broad remit to provide scientific and technical advice to the NHSBSP. This involves the setup and management of information systems that enable NCCPM to monitor the performance of the breast imaging equipment used in the NHSBSP.

NCCPM also initiates programmes of research leading to improvements in how breast screening is provided by the NHS and is a leading centre of expertise in this field.

Current research projects include:


OPTIMAM2 is funded by a £1.9m five year programme grant from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) led by Professor Young at NCCPM. It is a multi-centre study coordinated by NCCPM which started on 1st December 2013. The overarching objective is to optimise the adoption of new X-ray technology for detecting breast cancers and thereby to improve the early detection of breast cancers in the NHS Screening Programme.


OPTIMAM was funded by a £2.5m five year programme grant from Cancer Research UK (CRUK), MRC EPSRC and NIHR led by Professor Young at NCCPM. It was a multi-centre study coordinated by NCCPM which started on 1st December 2008. The overarching objective was to optimise the adoption of new X-ray technology for detecting breast cancers and thereby to improve the early detection of breast cancers in the NHS Screening Programme. COMPLETED.


European Training and Education for Medical Physics Experts in Radiology, was 3 years, €1.6m, Euratom Programme for Nuclear Research and Training Activities Coordination and Support Action. Start date: August 1, 2013. NCCPM is the main UK partner in this large project. COMPLETED.


Was a 3 year NHS Health Technology Assessment Grant of £1.6m awarded to Professor Fiona Gilbert at Cambridge University to conduct a clinical evaluation of digital breast tomosynthesis (from December 2010 to November 2013). Professor Young was a joint applicant and had a particular role in organising the quality control of the seven clinical systems at sites across the UK – one of which was the Jarvis Breast Screening Centre in Guildford. COMPLETED.


This was a 3.5 year European Commission grant to develop and evaluate the next generation of breast imaging X-ray systems using 3D, dual energy and contrast mammography. The grant ran from 2007 to 2010. This grant funded NCCPM to develop methods of measuring the technical performance of these clinical systems and to establish quality control procedures. (Role: Partner & Co-Investigator of €3.6m project).  COMPLETED.


European Cooperation on Development and Implementation of Cancer Screening and Prevention Guidelines: Funded by the European Union and coordinated by IARC. (Role: Partner for €1.75m project ran from 2007 to 2011).  COMPLETED.

CASCADE : Risk-based breast cancer screening: role for breast density?

NCCPM is part of this one year project during 2017 funded by the American Cancer Society and led by Professor Stephen Duffy (QMUL, London). The project studies the links between the sensitivity of screening for cancer detection, breast density and interval cancers. NCCPM provides images from the OPTIMAM image database, Volpara breast density, anonymised patient data, and software for radiologist assessment of breast density.

PRECISION : Prevent Ductal Carcinoma in Situ Invasive Overtreatment Now

NCCPM is collaborating with this large multi-centre £15m CRUK funded Grand Challenge project. NCCPM is working with Professor Joseph Lo at Duke University by providing images of DCIS from the OPTIMAM image database for analysis by machine learning.


Find out more at:

PhDs awarded as part of OPTIMAM research projects:

Diaz O. Scattered radiation in projection X-ray mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis. PhD, University of Surrey, June 2013.

Warren L. Simulation of calcification clusters in observer performance studies for optimisation of digital mammography. PhD, University of Surrey, March 2014.

Shaheen E. The development of a methodology to optimize the performance of breast tomosynthesis. Doctoral school of Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, April 2014.

Bemelmans F. The optimization of the simulation of 3D mass models with the aim to compare 2D digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis. Master in Biomedical Sciences, KU Leuven, May 2014.

Mackenzie A. The effect of image quality on cancer detection in mammography. PhD, University of Surrey, September 2014.

Rashidnasab A. Simulation of breast lesions in X-ray mammography screening. PhD, University of Surrey, October 2014.

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