Serious symptoms and safety netting

Spotting Cancer

Some links on this page have been colour coded to make it easier to find the information you need:

Quick Read
Clinical level

As the NHS suggests
“It’s important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms. Although it’s unlikely to be cancer, it’s important to speak to a GP so they can investigate. Finding cancer early means it’s easier to treat. If your GP suspects cancer, they’ll refer you to a specialist – usually within 2 weeks.”
“Signs and symptoms of Cancer.” The NHS website. Retrieved 12 January 2024.


As Cancer Research points out “Children’s cancer is much less common than adult cancer” and “Children develop different types of cancers than adults” ( What is children’s cancer? | Cancer Research UK)  so we have highlighted in bold specific information on children’s cancers with the other information applying to adults.

From Macmillan Cancer Support
Signs and symptoms of cancer Worried about cancer? Cancer signs and symptoms | Macmillan Cancer Support

From the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance
Campaigns: Information on early diagnosis of some common cancers including videos Campaigns –

From the NHS

From Cancer Research UK

Childhood cancers including

From Patient info

Though from NICE normally provides guidance for clinicians this has been written for patients, and is divided up by parts of the body.


See the section “Skin cancer”, for information on how an early diagnosis of skin cancer can be made, under

Other information

Further information can be found on:


It is likely you have been sign posted to information on spotting cancer, as part of a process called “safety netting.” This is explained in detail under

In summary:
“Safety-netting advice is information shared with a patient or their carer designed to help them identify the need to seek further medical help if their condition fails to improve, changes, or if they have concerns about their health.”
Peter Edwards et al. Published in British Journal of General Practice. November 2019.

clinical level information

This guidance from NICE intended for clinicians provides exact details of who to refer urgently for assessment to exclude cancer and is organised by “by site of cancer” and then “by symptoms”:

NICE Cancer Specialities centre (similar information to above but presented differently in places)

From Macmillan Cancer Support
Rapid Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer (“They are a NICE-endorsed summary”) Rapid Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer | Macmillan Cancer Support

Fast track referral

The “urgent suspect cancer referral” pathway is explained under

information on cancer including SUPPORT AFTER A DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER

There is further information on cancers in adults  including finding support for any cancer diagnosis under

  • Cancer- Adults
    This includes both local and national support for specific cancers but also general aspects of cancer.

Childhood cancers are not common. Further information and both local and national support can be found under

Reducing your risk of cancer

Information on how you can reduce your risk of cancer can be found under

Videos and podcasts

On the videos and podcasts page there are links to some relevant videos and podcasts covering the topic of spotting cancer.

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