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Approximately 20% of cancers in the UK have been attributed to diet but the only dietary factors judged to be convincing in recent reviews include fibre and processed meat. Few cohorts have the power to assess relationships of diet with site-specific cancers due to short length of follow-up and/or small sample size for rare cancers. Prospective studies with large sample size and long follow-up are needed to confirm the role of diet in cancer aetiology. 

The Million Women Study is a cohort of 1.3 million women aged 50-64 who have been recruited from all across the UK. The study has extensive lifestyle and health information and over 14 years of follow-up through linkage to cancer and death registries. Detailed dietary data have been collected for ~800,000 women and additional follow-up dietary information for a sub-sample of ~12,000 women, making this the largest study of diet and site-specific cancers. 

The main aim of this DPhil project is to investigate prospective associations between major dietary factors, food groups and macronutrients and site-specific cancers in British women.


The student will work within a team of epidemiologists with experience in nutrition and will gain experience in literature review, planning and conducting secondary data analysis using statistical programmes, as well as interpretation of results. The project will involve large-scale data analysis. The student will develop their communication skills, scientific writing, and critical evaluation. The student will be supported through regular research meetings and will be expected to participate in training and seminars offered by the unit.


The DPhil student will have access to learning material of the MSc Global Health Science and Epidemiology and training for the Medical Sciences Division including statistical analysis and thesis writing.


The ideal candidates should have training in epidemiology, statistics, public health, medical or nutritional sciences. Candidates should have an interest in epidemiology, quantitative data analysis and population health. Previous postgraduate training or experience in epidemiology or statistics would be preferred.