If you think you might have cancer
Make an urgent appointment If you’re worried that you have possible cancer symptoms, go to your GP as soon as possible. Don’t be put off going to a medical appointment because of concerns about the current situation. If you do have cancer, the earlier you’re diagnosed, the higher your chances of recovery.
Consider your options If your GP thinks you might have cancer, they will refer you to a hospital consultant, who must see you within 14 days. Talk to your GP about this. You can compare the performance of different hospitals before deciding where to go.
Bring a loved one If you’re worried about the appointment, ask to bring along a friend, partner or family member.
Plan ahead It can be hard to remember everything you’re told, so take notes or ask if you can record the appointment on your phone so you can listen again later. Bring a list of questions too. If anything’s unclear, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you are being treated for cancer
Who’s in the team? If you’re receiving cancer treatment, you’ll be in regular contact with your cancer team.
Who you might meet
- cancer nurse specialist expert nurse
- oncologist doctor specialising in cancer
- haematologist doctor specialising in blood disorders including blood cancers
- pathologist laboratory doctor who specialises in body tissues
- radiologist specialist in scans and xrays
- surgeon doctor who does operations
- therapists such as physiotherapists, dieticians, mental health professionals or occupational therapists who help maintain your quality of daily life
Stay in touch Ask for a number to call with questions in between appointments – once you are under the care of an oncology or haematology team you should be given an emergency contact number to call for urgent help and advice.
Side-effects If you are experiencing side effects from your treatment, talk to your consultant or cancer nurse specialist. Others in the team may be able to help too. For example, psychologists can help with anxiety.
Clinical trials Some people choose to become involved in clinical trials, to try out new treatments not yet widely available. To find out more, ask your cancer team.