University of Costa Rica Inaugurated Center for Prevention, Early Detection, and Diagnosis of Cancer

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    The University of Costa Rica (UCR) inaugurated the Surgery and Cancer Research Center (Cicica), which will focus on new methodologies and strategies for prevention, early detection, and specialized diagnosis.

    This center is unique in Central America and will allow Costa Rica to develop research that will contribute to better techniques for the treatment of this disease. “Our purpose is to dedicate ourselves to the implementation of new strategies and methodologies for prevention, early detection and specialized diagnosis in this type of pathology”, explained Dr. Steve Quirós, director of the research center. “Additionally, we have social action projects to bring this specialized diagnosis, both clinical and laboratory, to the Costa Rican population”, he added.

    Thus, through research, teaching and social action, they will seek to generate knowledge for the benefit of patients. “Our research center prioritizes research in cancer screening, early diagnosis, and precision oncology. If the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage, treatments are generally less effective, more expensive, and have more negative side effects. In this sense, early diagnosis is the best alternative for the many cancers that still cannot be prevented and those that occur despite prevention”, explained Dr. Quirós.

    Better surgical techniques

    In addition, this center will also study surgical techniques so that the interventions are less invasive. Teaching will be given to specialized medical personnel. Previously, they were provided at the former Minimally Invasive Surgery Training and Research Laboratory (Leicimi-UCR) and later at the DCLab-UCR (predecessor of Cicica-UCR).

    With these techniques, it is intended that the patient feel less pain and have a faster recovery, which implies that they must use less painkillers. According to the University, these techniques also significantly reduce mortality and morbidity.

    In the research center they will have high-tech equipment and a simulation environment. “UCR has an absolute commitment to the social security of the country so that residents have knowledge that gives potential benefits to the insured and to Costa Rica. We see that today. In all the centers in the country where there are operating rooms, there are professionals who are making minimally invasive surgery a reality because they trained with us”, said Marco Zúñiga, spokesperson for Cicica, previously.


    The center seeks the establishment of agreements, in the first instance with civil society organizations, such as foundations, dedicated to caring for patients with cancer or the prevention of this disease.

    The objective is early detection, mainly of people living in poverty or extreme poverty. Also, it seeks to establish an agreement with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) in order to reduce national mortality from this disease.

    Finally, Cicica is intended to have specific clinical research projects. It was created on December 15th, 2021, but it was not until 2023 when it was inaugurated as a result of the pandemic.

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