Urgent suspected cancer

Cancer services

Your General Practitioner (GP) or dentist may have asked for you to have an urgent hospital appointment within two weeks.

Depending on your symptoms, this appointment may be to attend an outpatient clinic, a diagnostic test (such as an x-ray or endoscopy) or a combination of the two.

The two week appointment system was introduced so that any patient with symptoms that might indicate cancer, or a serious condition such as cancer, could be seen by a specialist as quickly as possible. Attending this appointment within two weeks is vitally important and will allow you to benefit from:

  • An early diagnosis and earlier access to treatment, which is shown to improve health outcomes or, (help people to live longer with their cancer).
  • In most cases, early reassurance that cancer has not been diagnosed

Does this mean I have cancer?

Many of the patients referred under the two week appointment system do not have cancer but may have another condition requiring hospital diagnosis and treatment.

There are national referral guidelines for your GP or dentist to use when making a decision about whether it is appropriate to refer you for an appointment within two weeks.

What symptoms might need an urgent referral?

  • A lump that does not go away
  • A change in size, shape or colour of a mole
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • A change in bowel or bladder habits (including increased frequency or bleeding)
  • Persistent tiredness and/or unexplained weight loss

Will I need any tests?

You may require specialised tests. These may take place either before or during your first hospital appointment, or may be organised for a later date. This will help the specialist understand the cause of your symptoms. You may be contacted initially by a nurse, who will assess your symptoms and advise on whether an appointment or diagnostic test is the next appropriate step. Please be aware that you may have a physical examination at your appointment.

What do I need to do now?

  • Please take the earliest appointment offered to you. This includes your first appointment and any further tests or investigations. This helps us develop a treatment plan more quickly
  • Make sure your GP has your correct address and telephone number, including mobile number as you will be telephoned by the appointments team.
  • Please try not to cancel your appointment. Let the hospital know immediately if you are unable to attend your appointment, so the time can be offered to someone else. It is really important that you arrange an alternative date and time as soon as possible if cancelling
  • If you require an interpreter, please inform the Trust in advance. Please call the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) using the number on this leaflet
  • At the end of your hospital appointment you will be given more information about what will happen next. This may include contact details of a specialist nurse
  • If you are driving to your appointment, please note you need to pay to park (Pay on exit)

Contact Numbers

  • Conquest Hospital – Urgent suspected cancer booking office – Tel: 0300 131 5038
  • Eastbourne DGH – Urgent suspected cancer booking office – Tel: 0300 131 5489