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Tests and diagnosis for suspected cancer

We want to ensure that people have quick, equitable and convenient access to tests and results if their GP suspects they have any symptoms that suggest they may have cancer.

In future we may look at alternative options for patients who believe they may have symptoms of cancer so that they can be tested quickly. For example this could be through self-referral rather than through a GP.

We are working with healthcare professionals, patients, carers and the wider public to help shape the future of testing and diagnosis services – referred to as ‘diagnostics.’

Our first project is looking at the breast diagnostic pathway. It is worth noting that only a small number of patients will be diagnosed with breast cancer after they have been referred for a test – this figure is around 5%.

Therefore it is important we hear from everyone about how the tests should be made available, what should happen if you are given the all clear after your test as well as what should be in place for those who are told they have breast cancer.

What areas are being considered?

This will depend on what people tell us, but options could include:

  • Looking at alternative locations for some tests and follow up care provided closer to home, where it is safe to do so
  • Considering options for walk-in services diagnostic (testing) services where safe and appropriate
  • Quicker access to test results (diagnosis)
  • Improved information and support for patients so that they understand what will happen next
  • Using technology to reduce the need to travel to appointments. This means you might not have to leave home to get your results or to talk to a health or social care professional.

Are you interested in helping to shape how services will work in the future? Please get in touch.