Internship position - Literature review on delayed cancer diagnosis (Master Student) - SP1022

1A-B, rue Thomas Edison, Strassen L-1445, Luxembourg
13/10/2022 16:13:01

Older adults are diagnosed at a later stage than younger adults10, which results in poorer outcomes in the former. People over 75 are not targeted by organised cancer screening programs because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness and the limited life expectancy gains at older ages11; cancer is, therefore, more likely to be diagnosed when already symptomatic, therefore at a later stage12. However, some cancer symptoms, like those of colon cancer, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and constipation, have low specificity13 and are prevalent in older adults, making the cancer diagnosis difficult, and potentially delaying diagnosis. Older adults are also more likely to be diagnosed through emergency settings, and this is associated with a lower chance of curative treatment and an excess risk of early mortality14.

Most of the research on the timeliness in cancer diagnosis has been conducted in the UK15. Evidence about the factors that could specifically explain delayed cancer diagnosis in older adults is scarce. In countries such as Luxembourg where general practitioners (GP) are often the first point of contact, they have a crucial role in the diagnosis of cancer. A recent review of the literature showed that multiple factors negativelyinfluence the patient and GP decision to investigate cancer symptoms in older adults, including the presence of frailty, comorbidities, cognitive impairment, family and carer involvement; the most important factor was the lack of consultation time15. However, the review did not present any comparison with younger age groups, precluding to know whether differences in terms of factors exist between younger and older adults.


The objective of the internship is to systematically review the scientific literature on routes to cancer diagnosis with a specific focus on identifying studies that used administrative datasets to define different routes to cancer diagnosis (e.g., screening, emergency presentation).


      Writing up the protocol and tools of the literature review

      Leading all stages of the literature review (references search, screening of titles/abstracts, screening of full text, data extraction, data synthesis)

      Drafting a scientific paper

Training and research environment

The master’s student will be supervised by Sophie Pilleron, Ageing, Cancer and Disparities Research Unit, Department of Precision Health at the Luxembourg Institute of Health. They will be fully integrated in the research group and the LIH and will benefit from an international and multidisciplinary environment.

 The master’s student may continue with a 4-year PhD (funds available) on the same topic if the internship is satisfactory.

What we offer

       An international and multidisciplinary environment

      Experience in leading a research project

      Opportunities to participate to other research activities


        Master level in epidemiology, biostatistics, data science

        Previous experience in literature review is not mandatory but appreciated.

        A good command of the English language (at least reading skills) is mandatory

        Ability to work in autonomy

        Good writing skills in English is a plus

        Applicants should be enrolled in a Master program and the internship should be a mandatory part of the diploma.

In short:

  • Contract type:    6-month fixed-term contract
  • Work hours:        Full time- 40h/week
  • Location:             Luxembourg
  • Start date:          January 2023 (flexible dates)
  • Ref:                      JF/INTDECAN/SP/ACADI

How to apply

Applications including a cover letter and a  curriculum vitae should be sent before December 2022 through our website via the apply button below. Please apply ONLINE formally through this web page. Applications by email will not be considered.