Too many cancers are only diagnosed once they have reached an advanced stage, which greatly reduces people’s chance of survival.
To people with cancer this outcome means:
- I was aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and knew where to seek medical help.
- My cancer was diagnosed at an early stage, giving me the best chance of survival.
- I was diagnosed by the most appropriate health service for my cancer, ideally via a referral by my GP or a screening programme.
- If my cancer comes back or spreads, this is also detected at an early stage and by the most appropriate health service.
- I was seen as soon as necessary after my diagnosis by a hospital doctor.
- My diagnosis was communicated to me clearly and sensitively.
What Macmillan says needs to be done
Better referrals: NHS leaders must tackle regional variations in the clinical pathways used to diagnose people with cancer, and GP practices should use the best available clinical decision support tools to help diagnose people earlier.
Better data: Cancer registries and hospitals must ensure stage at diagnosis is recorded for every person with cancer in the UK, and the NHS needs to use this data to improve performance.
Cancer leads: All commissioning groups and health boards should have dedicated cancer leads.