New 'one stop shops' for cancer to speed up diagnosis and save lives
Tuesday 3 April 2018
New ‘one stop shops’ designed to speed-up cancer diagnosis and help save lives are being rolled out across England.
Rapid diagnostic and assessment centres are being piloted in ten areas as part of NHS England’s drive to catch cancer early and speed up diagnosis for people with cancer.
People with vague, non-specific symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, appetite loss or abdominal pain are often referred multiple times for different tests for different cancers, but these new centres will help end this cycle.
If a GP or other healthcare professional suspect cancer, they will be able to refer people to a ‘one stop shop’ where all the necessary investigations can be done under one roof.
Some patients will receive a definitive diagnosis or be reassured that it isn’t cancer on the same day, while others will need to undergo further assessment, but can generally expect a diagnosis within two weeks of their first appointment. If the pilot is successful more centres will be established.
Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs, says: “Bowel cancer symptoms are common and can be easily attributed to less serious conditions. As a result those with low risk symptoms often face a delayed diagnosis or have to see their GP a number of times before being referred for further tests. Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer and these ‘one stop shops’ could help reduce delays in diagnosis and detect bowel cancer at an earlier stage when the disease is more treatable and curable.
“Early diagnosis is key to saving lives from bowel cancer; more than nine out of ten people diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer survive five years or more, compared to less than one in ten people diagnosed at stage 4. Currently around 20% of people are diagnosed with bowel cancer as an emergency when outcomes are generally poorer and almost 50% in later stages of the disease when it is harder to treat.”
This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month we’re raising awareness of bowel cancer symptoms. The symptoms of bowel cancer are:
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP.