Our policy on diagnostic services
Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our work and our policies.
Early diagnosis of cancer is vital if we are to improve our outcomes to amongst the best in Europe.
With an ageing population, we are likely to see rising cancer incidence and more patients: by 2035 there will be 500,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK. The combination of an ageing and growing population, plus welcome efforts to improve earlier diagnosis through more referrals, means we will need to do more tests in future. For example, by 2020 the NHS in England will need to perform 44% more endoscopies than are currently being carried out. This means an extra 750,000 procedures per year. Resolving issues with diagnostic capacity is crucial if we’re to diagnose cancer earlier.
Waiting times have increased and the services which deliver cancer tests are struggling to keep up with existing demand. Cancer Research UK has commissioned research (Imaging, Endoscopy, Pathology) on the capacity and demand for diagnostic services and these reports show we will need to train and employ more health professionals involved in delivering and interpreting cancer tests.