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My sister in law was finally diagnosed with bowel cancer which had spread to lymph nodes and liver at the beginning of February. As she has still not received a treatment plan or start date she contacted the hospital and was advised the 31 / 62 day timeline did not include weekends or bank holidays so she would have to be patient. I can not see the weekend/ bank holiday exclusion in any guidelines so wonder if she is being told correctly?


  • Hi Gill47.

    Welcome to the online community. My name is Anne, and I am one of the nurses on the Support Line. I’m sorry to read of your sister-in-law’s diagnosis of advanced bowel cancer and understand this must be an anxious time for you all. Waiting for results and to start treatment can be a particularly challenging time. The 4 nations within the UK have their own waiting time targets to start treatment. The aim is to ensure people receive a diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible. Various factors and pressures on the NHS can affect whether or not these targets are met. I have been unable to find information which specifically mentions bank holidays being taken into account with waiting times. However, as not all services operate on bank holidays, it is possible this may be factored into the waiting time.

    Hopefully your sister-in-law will hear from her healthcare team soon to discuss her treatment pathway. Her team at the Hospital will get together to discuss all the results and make a plan, based on her individual situation and the national treatment guidelines. Perhaps she may wish to enquire about when her case will be discussed at the multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. Bowel Cancer UK has information on the different treatment options, if you would like to read more about them.

    Your sister-in-law should be allocated her own Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). They work closely with the Consultant and are there to support her going forward. She can contact the Consultant’s secretary to ask for their contact details, if she does not yet have them. In the meantime, she may wish to read through our information on preparing for treatment.

    Should your sister-in-law continue to have concerns about the waiting time, she may wish to contact PALS at her local Hospital. They are well placed to help resolve any concerns she may have.

    Take care for now,


    Anne - Cancer Information Nurse Specialist


    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email.


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