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London’s urgent suspected cancer referrals

The two-week urgent referral pathway for suspected cancer is a key part of NHS England’s national cancer strategy for achieving earlier diagnosis and improved survival rates in England:

“In order to improve early diagnosis, we need to encourage people to recognise the symptoms and signs of cancer, and seek advice from their doctor as soon as possible. We also need doctors to recognise these symptoms and (if appropriate) refer people urgently for specialist care”.

Links to interactive data dashboards

Data highlights

London’s urgent suspected cancer referral activity increased in 2021 by 26% from 2020 after a decrease in that year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic although referrals were still higher than any year before 2018.  Breast, skin and lower GI saw the biggest volumes of suspected cancer referrals in 2021.   The data indicates that 4.4% of suspected cancer referrals are diagnosed with cancer.  Over the past ten years we have seen an increasing proportion of all cancers treated being referred via the suspected cancer referral pathway, rising from 38% to 50%.

More data resources

To see key referral and diagnosis data at CCG and GP practice level, use the Practice Profiles Plus 2020 Refresh – Healthy London Partnership.