Black woman with cancer having medical consultation

NHS breaking early cancer diagnosis records

Following on from the news that the number of men getting prostate cancer treatment took a sharp jump back in August, more NHS statistics have revealed that the British health system is also diagnosing all cancers at an earlier stage than ever before.

The figures show that, during 2021-22, more than 100,000 patients were diagnosed with cancer at either stages one or two – “the highest proportion on record”, according to the NHS.

This comes after record numbers of people getting checked for cancer were reported, with nearly 500,000 more people getting tests between March 2021 and August 2022, compared to the same period before the pandemic.

Furthermore, the number of people being referred for cancer per month has risen by more than 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels, 25% of all GP referrals are for people with suspected cancer, and, just taking August alone into account, more than 250,000 people got a cancer check-up following an urgent GP referral – another record.

The jump is thought to be down to the NHS’s educational campaigns and early diagnosis drives, as well as innovations like high-street cancer checks, community diagnostic centres, and roaming lung cancer scanning trucks.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS in England, said: “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.

“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.”

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