In 2018, the NHS England conducted a record number of cancer checks on individuals who had a suspicion that they might have cancer.
In 2018, 2.2 million cancer checks were performed following urgent referral by GPs, which translates to nearly 6000 per day or more than four a minute. This indicates a quarter million more checks than in 2017, when 1.9 million people were screened. A total of 308,058 individuals received first cancer treatment in 2018, ~13,000 more than in 2017. Cancer survival rates in 2018 were also at an all-time high.
The rise in screening has been attributed to several factors, including new guidance for GPs introduced in 2015, reducing the cancer referral threshold and greater awareness raising with high profile celebrities sharing their cancer stories.
The 'NHS Long Term Plan' aims to introduce a 28-day diagnosis standard, which means patients will either receive a cancer diagnosis or an all clear within four weeks. This is expected to save 55,000 more lives every year.
Cally Palmer, NHS England’s National Director for Cancer, said: "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."