What is a Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service?
Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Services are new fast-track diagnostic clinics for people with non-specific symptoms (this could include things like unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite or unexplained pain, among others). Symptoms like these can sometimes be an indication of cancer so we want to be able to rule this out as quickly as possible.
Why have I been referred to the Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service?
You have been referred to the Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service 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?
The RCDS is set-up to provide rapid access to diagnostics in order to rule out cancer as soon as possible. You might feel like your time with the RCDS goes quickly, but this is entirely normal for us. We have a 21-day target from when you’re referred to us to when we’ll give you results.
When and how will I be contacted?
You will receive a phone call from a member of the Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Service 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. You can find out some more information about what to expect in our RCDS pathway for patients section.
What happens during my first call?
Your (Advanced) Clinical Nurse Specialist will go through your medical history and ask questions about your existing symptoms and general wellbeing. This is to ensure you receive the best possible care and support. Your (A)CNS will let you know if further investigations are recommended for you following this conversation. For most of our patients, this is a CT scan.
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, not usually. You appointments will normally happen within just a few days and so there’s often insufficient time for a letter to reach you. Your patient navigator (PN) will advise you of the date, time, and location of your appointment(s) by telephone. A lot of our patients also like us to email their appointment details to them, which we’re happy to do.
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 PN using the details you’ve been provided with as soon as possible.
How will I be kept informed?
Your patient navigator will keep you informed about each step of your journey with the RCDS. Once you’ve completed your time with us, your (A)CNS will also write to you and your GP with a summary of your outcome.
What happens after I have had my scan?
Your patient navigator will contact you to arrange an appointment with your (A)CNS nurse to go over your results.
Is this a pilot project?
Yes. Phase 1 started in early summer 2021 and phase 2 commenced in 2022. If you would like to find out a bit more about the pilot, please look at our dedicated section here.
Do I need to participate in this – will my results be collected and shared?
This is not a clinical trial. Referral to the RCDS 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.
As we’re still in a pilot phase, we will give you the opportunity to take part in further research and questionnaires. Your patient navigator will discuss this with you.
How do I change or cancel an RCDS appointment?
Please always let us know if you can’t attend your appointment so that someone else can use it. Your patient navigator will have given you contact details in the event you need to make changes to your appointment.
What if I need help getting to my appointment?
If you require help in attending your appointment, you can call the patient transport number on 0300 123 1236. Please speak to your Patient Navigator or (A)CNS if you intend to request help with transport.