The NHS England Cancer Programme has released a report  NHS England Cancer Programme progress update – Spring 2024. The report outlines significant progress made towards targets set out in the Long Term Plan.

The Long Term Plan (published in 2019) contained two ambitions for cancer, which set the aims for the NHS Cancer Programme:

  • By 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half to three-quarters of cancer patients.
  • Achieving this will mean that, from 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive cancer for at least five years after diagnosis.

This report provides an overview of the NHS Cancer Programme’s progress towards the delivery of the NHS England cancer ambitions, the research to make the most up to date treatments available to NHS patients, and the work to improve performance against cancer waiting times standards.

Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff across the country, by March 2024, the NHS met its targets to provide at least 75% of people with a definitive diagnosis or ruling out of cancer within 28 days and reduce the number of people waiting longer than 62 days for treatment following an urgent suspected cancer referral. The report also describes the first significant increase in early diagnosis rates in a decade.

Despite this, there are still challenges and some people are waiting longer for a diagnosis or to start treatment than is acceptable. The achievements made to date show what is possible and give the best foundation for the next phase of the plan to transform cancer diagnosis and outcomes.

In line with Long Term Plan, the NHS Cancer Programme has three priorities:

  1. Earlier diagnosis
  2. Improving treatment and personalised care
  3. Improving performance.

Read the NHS England Cancer Programme progress update – Spring 2024 here.