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Publication, Part of

[MI] Urgent suspected cancer referrals: Referral, conversion and detection rates, April 2020 to March 2021

Summary

The interactive tool provides data on urgent suspected cancer referrals (commonly known as, two-week wait referrals). These referrals can be used for people with possible cancer symptoms, to refer them to secondary care for investigation and possible diagnosis.

The tool reports crude referral rates, conversion rates and detection rates, by financial year. These rates provide insights into the volume of referral activity and the contribution of these referrals to diagnostic pathways. This information should improve the understanding of cancer diagnostic pathways and inform resource or intervention planning.

This release adds data for the April 2020 to March 2021 financial year. For the first time, it also includes breakdowns by ethnic groups, for England and for all cancer sites combined for NHS regions. It also updates the methodology used for the deprivation breakdown.


Key Facts

2 million urgent referrals for all suspected cancers, equivalent to 3,667 per 100,000 people

in England, for April 2020 to March 2021 (crude referral rate)

7% of urgent referrals for all suspected cancer resulted in a cancer diagnosis

in England, for April 2020 to March 2021 (conversion rate)

55% of all cancer cases recorded in the Cancer Waiting Times data resulted from an urgent suspected cancer referral

 in England during April 2020 to March 2021 (detection rate)

Background

The rates are provided by combinations of selected:

  • Geographies: from England, NHS regions, Cancer Alliances (CAs), Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
  • Suspected cancer referral types or cancer sites: from All cancer, brain or central nervous system tumours, breast, breast symptoms, children's, gynaecological, haematological, head and neck, lower gastrointestinal (GI), respiratory system (lung), sarcoma, skin, urological, upper GI and other cancers.
  • Demographic groups: from gender, age, deprivation and ethnicity.

Definitions

  • Crude referral rate is the number of urgent suspected cancer referrals multiplied by 100,000 divided by the population.
  • Conversion rate is the percentage of urgent suspected cancer referrals which result in a diagnosis of cancer.
  • Detection rate is the percentage of cases recorded in the Cancer Waiting Times data as receiving a first treatment for cancer which resulted from an urgent suspected cancer referral.

Further methodology details are provided on the dashboard's Information page.

Note: There have been changes in trends due to COVID-19 impacting on some activity. This needs to be considered at all times when interpreting figures for April 2020 to March 2021 in particular, and, to a smaller degree, the April 2019 to March 2020 figures.

Feedback

Feedback can be sent to: NDRSenquiries@nhs.net. This email address can be used for general enquiries to NDRS. Please do not include sensitive or patient identifiable information.



Last edited: 14 April 2022 9:27 am