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July 21, 2023

More than 500 patients referred for urgent cancer diagnosis through rapid clinic

Hundreds of patients at risk of cancer have been referred for rapid diagnostic results following the introduction of a specialist clinic at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

The ‘Rapid Diagnostic Clinic’ was set up in March 2022 under plans to improve early access to cancer assessments and tests, and last week marked a key milestone of receiving its 500th patient referral.

The clinic is tailored to supporting patients who present to GPs with non-specific symptoms that could indicate cancer but don’t relate to a specific type, such as:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Vague abdominal pain
  • Nausea

If a GP suspects cancer they can refer into the Rapid Diagnostic Clinic so the patient can be assessed, provided with necessary scans and tests, and then receive a timely diagnosis.

Fran Shinks, Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Rapid Diagnostic Clinic at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Due to the non-specific symptoms patients present with it’s often difficult for GPs to manage their cases in a timely manner as they don’t fit into a specialist cancer pathway, resulting in patients moving around the system.

“The Rapid Diagnostic Team actively manages the patient pathway until we are able to give the patient a definitive answer as to whether or not they have a diagnosis of cancer. As well as diagnosing a wide variety of cancers, patients have also been diagnosed with a number of other serious conditions and referred to the appropriate health care teams.

“Catching cancer at the earliest opportunity is more likely to result in successful treatment, and in many cases can save lives. It’s really important people speak to their doctor as soon as they spot anything that doesn’t seem normal for them.

As the service develops, the Rapid Diagnostic Clinic team will be reviewing at what cancer stage patients are being referred with a focus on early diagnosis.

For more information about rapid cancer diagnostics in Greater Manchester, visit the NHS Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance website.

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