Cancer waiting times

There are waiting time targets for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the different UK nations.

Getting a second opinion

You might want to see another GP or specialist to get a second opinion about your diagnosis or treatment.

Private cancer treatment

You might decide to access all or part of your cancer care through private healthcare. This could be at a separate, private hospital. Or you might use a private service in an NHS hospital.

Free prescriptions for people with cancer

All NHS prescriptions are free if you live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. There are usually charges in England. But if you have cancer, you can apply for a certificate to get free prescriptions.

Buying medicines in the UK to send abroad

Sending medicines abroad depends on the type of medicine and where you want to send it. There are medicines regulations and postal services restrictions to follow. 

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint if you’re not happy with your treatment or care, whether your care is with the NHS or private services.

How cancer drugs are licensed in the UK

Drugs go through a review process. This ensures they're safe, effective, and that the benefits outweigh possible side effects.

How medicines become available on the NHS and HSC

Once a medicine has a licence, organisations will decide if it should be available as part of free healthcare.

Ways to access treatment

Sometimes there are treatments which aren’t available on the NHS. There are other ways you might be able to access a treatment that isn’t available on the NHS.

Early Access to Medicines Scheme

The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) gives people access to promising new drugs that are not yet licensed.

Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF)

The Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) is a way of funding cancer drugs in England.

Last reviewed: 
08 Jan 2024
Next review due: 
08 Jan 2027