Information for the public

If you are referred for suspected cancer

If you are referred for suspected cancer

Being referred to a specialist does not mean that you have cancer. Very few people who are referred to a specialist actually have cancer. However, it is important that you are checked quickly to find out. If you do have cancer, spotting it early can mean treatment is easier and more likely to be successful

Being referred for suspected cancer can be worrying. If you or someone you are caring for is being referred, your GP should explain to you that most people who are referred will not have cancer. They should discuss any other conditions that may be causing the symptoms.

You should be given information tailored to your needs about the possible diagnosis. Your GP should also explain how you can get more information before your appointment and give you details of local and national support. The information you are given should be in a suitable format and language for you, and should take into account your cultural needs.

You and your family members or carer should be given information about:

  • where you are being referred

  • how soon the appointment will be

  • what you can expect to happen at your appointment and what tests might be carried out

  • how long it will be before you get test results or a diagnosis

  • whether someone can go with you to the appointment.

While you are waiting for your appointment, your GP should continue to provide support and ask you to contact them again if you have any concerns or questions.

With your agreement, your GP should tell the specialist if you need any extra help because of your personal circumstances.

  • Information Standard