Annual NHS cancer checks for two million

NHS England has revealed that the NHS carried out more than two million checks on people who feared they might have cancer for the first time last year.

In 2018, patients underwent a record 2.2 million cancer checks following urgent referral by their GP, almost 6,000 a day or more than four every minute. That marks an increase of almost a quarter of a million on the 1.9 million people who were seen the previous year.

The organisation, which claims that cancer survival is at an all time high, also says that record numbers of people also received treatment for cancer, with 308,058 receiving a first treatment in 2018, almost 13,000 more than in 2017 and the first time the number has topped 300,000.

Cally Palmer, NHS England’s national director for cancer, said: “Thanks to a greater awareness of symptoms, more people than ever before are coming forward to get checked for cancer, with over two million in just one year and record numbers of people receiving treatment.

“We want to see even more people seeking help when something is not right – catching cancer earlier when it can be treated best is crucial to providing peace of mind for patients and their families and saving more lives. We are rapidly driving forward the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions to improve dramatically the experience of millions of people across the country.”

Cancer survival is at an all time high with new figures showing 10,000 more patients surviving for at least 12 months after diagnosis than five years earlier. The NHS Long Term Plan includes the introduction of a new 28 day faster diagnosis standard that will see patients diagnosed with cancer or given the all clear within four weeks.

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