When your GP suspects you might have cancer they will refer you to a specialist doctor at the hospital for further tests.
The hospital will contact you by telephone to book an appointment with a consultant, or for any tests that need to be done first.
This is called a fast track referral and your appointment will be booked within two weeks. If you do not hear back within one week of the referral please phone the hospital you have been referred to.
For more information about the process, and for contact details of the local hospitals, please visit our fast track referrals page.
Your fast track referral
It is very important that you attend your appointment at the hospital.
It might not be cancer that is causing your symptoms, but it is vital that we can either diagnose cancer or rule it out as quickly as possible.
If you have symptoms that are difficult to diagnose, but may suggest cancer, your GP can refer you to a new service called the Rapid Investigation Service for further tests. Click on the link to find more information about how this works and how you can contact them.
What to expect at your hospital appointment
Your first appointment might be with a consultant, or you may have a test or scan first. You will be told when someone from the hospital calls to book your appointment.
It might help to write down any questions you have for your consultant, and bring them with you to the appointment.
If you need to find out where to go and how to get there, visit our local hospitals page and follow the links to their websites for more information.
For more information about urgent referrals, and to help you prepare for your hospital appointment visit Cancer Research UK – Urgent Referral
If you are offered an appointment by video or phone call, you can watch this video about how you can make the most of a virtual consultation
Please check with the hospital to see if you can take someone with you. If it is possible, they may be asked to wait outside.
All hospitals are working hard to make sure it is safe to attend the hospital if you are advised to. Your test areas will be separated from areas where patients with COVID-19 are being treated. If you still feel unsure or concerned about attending hospital, please contact your GP.