Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

More than a quarter (28%) of female invasive breast cancer cases in England are detected by screening.[1]

More than 4 in 10 (43%) of female invasive breast cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the ‘two week wait’ referral route. This proportion is high compared with the average across all cancer types.[1]

More than 3 in 20 (16%) of female invasive breast cancer cases in England are diagnosed following a routine or urgent GP referral (but not under the two week wait referral route).[1]

5 in 100 (5%) of female invasive breast cancer cases in England are diagnosed after presenting as an emergency. This proportion is low compared with the average across all cancer types, and probably indicates earlier diagnosis in general. The proportion of patients presenting as an emergency generally rises with increasing age, reaching a peak in 85+ year-olds (18%). Emergency presentations for breast cancer also show an association with deprivation, with the proportion of patients presenting as an emergency being highest in women living in the most deprived areas in England.[1]

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'14-day / Two-week wait'

England meets the standard for their country on the percentage of patients first seen by a specialist within two weeks of urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.[1]

'Two-week wait' supports early diagnosis as spotting cancer early is important for improving survival, so it is important that patients with potential cancer symptoms are referred promptly. 

'31-day wait'

All countries in the UK meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients that receive their first cancer treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat.[1-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

'62-day wait'

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients receiving their first definitive treatment for cancer within two months of a GP referral for suspected cancer, while Wales does not meet the standard for their country.[1-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

Cancer waiting times coding and standards are different in each country and so comparisons should not be made between countries, only each country against their own measures.

Breast Cancer, Waiting Times, UK countries, 2014-15

    England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
'14-day wait': seen by specialist following referral Performance 95%      
Standard 93%      
Performance against standard Meets standard      
'31-day wait': receipt of first treatment following decision to treat Performance 98.8% 96.2% 97.3% 99%
Standard 96% 95% 95% 98%
Performance against standard Meets standard Meets standard Meets standard Meets standard
'62-day wait': receipt of first treatment following referral Performance 95.9% 88.9% 98.1%97.5%  
Standard 85% 95% 95% 95%
Performance against standard Meets standard Does not meet standard Meets standard Meets standard

Data not available for '14-day wait' in Wales, Scotland or NI.

References

  1. NHS England. Cancer waiting times(link is external).Accessed May 2015.
  2. StatsWales. Cancer waiting times. Accessed May 2015. 
  3. ISD Scotland. Cancer Waiting Times. Accessed June 2015. 
  4. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Cancer Waiting Times. Accessed June 2015.
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