The NHS is diagnosing more patients with cancer at an earlier stage than ever before, according to new analysis.
Last year, over 100,000 patients were diagnosed with cancer at stages one or two when it is easier to treat, the highest proportion on record.
Record numbers of people are getting checked for cancer – almost half a million more patients were checked between March 2021 and August 2022, compared to the same period before the pandemic.
In total, 471,233 more people were referred for cancer during this period – helping to recover the drop in people coming forward during the pandemic, when around 370,000 fewer people received checks.
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‘We will not stop in our efforts to catch cancers earlier and save more lives. We know fewer people came forward for cancer checks in the early stages of the pandemic, but thanks to the hard work of staff, we have now identified and caught up on those missing referrals, while more people are being diagnosed at an early stage than ever before – giving patients and their families the best chance of a successful outcome,’ said Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS in England.
‘But we will not stop there and NHS staff continue to roll out new initiatives from community scanning trucks to high street checks – making it as easy as possible for those most at risk to get vital, lifesaving tests – so if you are worried you may have symptoms of cancer, please come forward and get checked.’
One in every four GP referrals is currently for suspected cancer, and in August alone, a quarter of a million people (255,055) were checked following an urgent GP referral in August – the highest number since records began.
‘Thanks to the hard work of the NHS, more patients are getting checked for cancer, and getting checked sooner. Early diagnosis means people have a better chance of successful treatment so this increase in cancer checks is really important,’ said Minister for Health Helen Whately.
‘I want to see these figures continue to improve, especially as we now have 91 new NHS community diagnostic centres open across the country.’