'One-stop shops' for cancer diagnosis trialled by NHS

New "one-stop shops" to speed up cancer diagnosis are being trialled across the country for the first time.

GPs can refer patients suffering from "vague" symptoms including unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain and fatigue to assessment centres, to undergo multiple tests for different cancers.

The initiative aims to ensure a quick diagnosis in those not showing "alarm" signs for a specific type of cancer, NHS England said.

Some patients will be able to receive a definitive diagnosis or be given the all-clear on the same day, while others may require further tests but should receive a final result within two weeks.

The scheme, co-ordinated by NHS England, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, is being piloted in ten areas.

Cally Palmer, national director for cancer at NHS England, said: "Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives and providing peace of mind for patients, which is why we are driving forward plans to revolutionise our approach to cancer in this country.

"These new one-stop shops represent a real step change in the way people with unclear symptoms are identified, diagnosed and treated."

Patients with unexplained weight loss, appetite loss, abdominal discomfort or pain, fatigue, sweating or who feel generally unwell could be referred to the service.

The symptoms, alone or combined, can indicate a number of diseases including cancer.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's director of early diagnosis, said: "We're confident that these ten pilot centres will give us a much better understanding of what's needed to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of people with less obvious symptoms, improve their experience of care and, ultimately, survival."

The ten trial centres are at: North Middlesex University Hospital, University College London Hospital, Southend University Hospital, Queen's Hospital, Royal Free Hospital, St James's University Hospital, Airedale General Hospital, University Hospital South Manchester, Royal Oldham Hospital, Churchill Hospital.

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