Early diagnosis and referral from primary care is important. Time to diagnostics and reporting of results influences effectiveness of treatment and prognosis. Late presentation is thought to be a key factor in poor survival rates. The chart below highlights the success in diagnosing early stage cancer but demonstrates potential for improvement.

*Percentage of people whose cancer is diagnosed at each stage

Percentage of people whose cancer is diagnosed

Diagnosing cancers at an earlier stage provides better outcomes and this involves:

  • Public engagement in symptom recognition and early referral to the GP
  • Recognition of alarm symptoms and early investigations by GPs
  • Prompt diagnostics and staging in secondary care

In Wales, the two targets for waiting times are:

  • 95% of people newly diagnosed with cancer (via the urgent suspected cancer route) should start treatment within 62 days of being referred by their GP

  • 98% of people referred to hospital for other reasons but diagnosed with cancer (not via the urgent suspected cancer route) should start treatment within 31 days of the decision to treat