Terms used in this guideline


From birth to 15 years.

Children and young people

From birth to 24 years.

Consistent with

The finding has characteristics that could be caused by many things, including cancer.

Direct access

When a test is done and primary care retain clinical responsibility throughout, including acting on the result.


An acute admission or referral occurring within a few hours, or even more quickly if necessary.


The timescale generally used for a referral or investigation that is not considered very urgent or urgent.


The continuation of specified symptoms and/or signs beyond a period that would normally be associated with self‑limiting problems. The precise period will vary depending on the severity of symptoms and associated features, as assessed by the health professional.

Raises the suspicion of

A mass or lesion that has an appearance or a feel that makes the healthcare professional believe cancer is a significant possibility.

Safety netting

The active monitoring in primary care of people who have presented with symptoms. It has 2 separate aspects:

  • timely review and action after investigations

  • active monitoring of symptoms in people at low risk (but not no risk) of having cancer to see if their risk of cancer changes.

Suspected cancer pathway referral

Person to receive a diagnosis or ruling out of cancer within 28 days of being referred urgently by their GP for suspected cancer. For further details, see NHS England's webpage on faster diagnosis of cancer.


Symptoms or signs that have not led to a diagnosis being made by the healthcare professional in primary care after initial assessment (including history, examination and any primary care investigations).


To happen or be done before 2 weeks.

Very urgent

To happen within 48 hours.

Young people

Aged 16 to 24 years.