‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ Referral to Hospital – Information for Patients

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-928/2024
  • Departments: Oncology (Cancer Services)
  • Last Updated: 1 February 2024


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ (USC) referral to this hospital.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for you at your GP practice.

What is an ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ referral?

An ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ referral is a request from your General Practitioner (GP) to ask the hospital for an urgent appointment for you, because you have symptoms that might indicate that you have cancer.

Does this mean I have cancer?

After the appointment, we find that most patients who come to us do not have cancer, but another condition.

So why has my GP referred me?

GPs can diagnose and treat most symptoms and illnesses themselves. However, on some occasions they need to arrange for you to have a hospital assessment, so that you can see a specialist hospital doctor.  The ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ referral system was introduced so that you can have investigations done and be seen as quickly as possible.

There could be several reasons why your GP has referred you; for instance:

  • Your symptoms need further investigations
  • The treatment already prescribed has not worked
  • Investigations your GP arranged have shown some abnormal results
  • To make sure you do not have a serious disease

Will I need any tests?

You may require specialist tests and these may take place either before or during your first appointment. These will help the hospital doctor understand the cause of your symptoms.

What do I need to do now?

Make sure that your GP has your correct address and telephone number, including a mobile number, if possible.  It is very important that you are available to attend an appointment within two weeks of seeing your GP. Please tell your GP if you are likely to be away, or unable to attend hospital for any reason within the next two weeks.

The GP surgery will book this appointment for you electronically via the hospital’s referral system.  You will receive a letter if there is sufficient time. If not the GP’s surgery or the hospital will contact you by telephone. If you are unable to attend the appointment sent to you, please phone the hospital immediately.  It is important that you arrange another date and time if you have to cancel an appointment.

If you have any queries regarding the arrangements for your appointment, please telephone the hospital on Tel: 01482604308.  The ‘Urgent Suspected Cancer’ team will be available to answer your call Monday to Friday between 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, excluding bank holidays.

Your hospital appointment

At your first appointment, based on the information from your GP and your consultation with the specialist hospital doctor, you will be given more information about what will happen next.  Please feel free to bring someone with you to your appointment.

Further information:

NHS Choices (Guide to waiting times) www.nhs.uk/

NICE (Clinical Guidelines, Referral for Suspected Cancer) www.nice.org.uk

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