Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre?
Early Cancer Diagnostic Centres are new fast-track diagnostic clinics for people with non-specific symptoms suspicious of cancer who do not meet the existing Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer.
Why have I been referred to an Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre?
You have been referred to the Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre because your GP wants your symptoms investigated as quickly as possible to rule out cancer and give you peace of mind.
Why am I being seen so quickly?
Currently around half of patients referred to NHS Fife and subsequently diagnosed with cancer , come via an Urgent Suspected Cancer (USC) route. The new Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre provides an alternative route for patients whose symptoms are concerning, but non-specific to cancer.
When and how will I be contacted?
You will receive a phone call from a member of the Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre team within a few working days of your referral, so please make sure that the health professional referring you has your most up to date contact information.
This call may appear from an unknown number, so please don’t ignore it.
Can I bring someone with me?
Under normal circumstances we welcome partners or friends at appointments. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be asked to come alone to your appointment. Your patient navigator will keep you informed on the whether or not you’re allowed to be accompanied by a friend/family member at your appointment(s).
What happens during this call?
A member of the Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre team will go through your medical history and ask questions about your existing symptoms and general wellbeing, to ensure you receive the best possible care and support.
Please have a note of your recent medical history and current medication to hand to help the team decide which tests you need.
Will I get an appointment letter?
No. Your named contact will advise you of the date, time, and location of your appointment(s) by telephone. Please be aware that this appointment may be at short notice.
It is very important that you attend any appointments that are made for you. However, if you are unable to attend, get in touch with your named contact using the details you’ve been provided with as soon as possible.
How will I be kept informed?
Your named contact will keep you informed about next steps.
You can also expect to be informed of anything you may have to prepare in advance and of the latest infection control guidance in your area, for example if you’re allowed to be accompanied by a friend/family member at your appointment(s).
Your GP practice will also be kept informed.
What happens at the clinic/ once I have been referred?
You will have an individual assessment and tests carried out as quickly as possible to find out what is causing your symptoms and get you any treatment you may need.
What happens after I have had all of my tests?
Once your tests are completed, and your results are discussed by a team of clinicians, you may be referred to another specialist team for further tests or treatment, or discharged back to your GP practice. Your test results should be clearly explained to you so you fully understand the outcome of your time under the Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre's care.
Will I receive my blood test results on the same day?
Your blood will be taken by your GP and the doctor or nurse will give you your blood results on the day of your assessment
How long will my appointment take?
You appointment will most likely be over in under an hour.
Is this a pilot project?
Yes; Phase 1 of the pilot will run for 12-month period from the end of May 2021 with on-going evaluation locally and nationally by Strathclyde University to ensure best practice and long-term feasibility.
Do I need to participate in this – will my results be collected and shared?
This is not a clinical trial. Referral to the Early Cancer Diagnosis Centre is part of your routine medical care, we are simply offering you a faster pathway. You have the right to refuse treatment but it would not normally be in your interest to do so.
How to change or cancel an appointment
Please always let us know if you can’t attend your appointment so that someone else can use it.
Preparing for an appointment
Please bring to your appointment any tablets and medicines you are taking or a list of your current medication. You should also bring any medical letters or reports about care from hospitals other than NHS Fife that you think may be useful for us to see.
Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
Patients can eat and drink prior to attending the Early Cancer Diagnostic Centre
What should I wear?
We may need to do a physical assessment, so wearing easily removable and comfortable clothing is helpful.
What if I need help with getting to my appointment?
If you require help in attending your appointment, you can call the patient transport number on 0300 123 1236