Time frame from diagnosis to treatment

Hi, my Dad had an endoscopy 2 weeks ago tomorrow which said his stomach looked suspicious for tumour, he then had a ct scan done 9 days ago. He hasn't heard another thing, is this a normal timescale? What will be the next step, will he have pet scan? What is the time frame from diagnosis to starting treatment? We are NHS Scotland. 


  • Dear Ralove,

    Thank you for getting in touch and welcome to our online community, I hope you find it supportive. My name is Jo and I am one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan Support Line. It is understandable to have questions about these timescales. Waiting for tests to diagnose cancer and waiting for treatment to start are both hugely stressful periods of time. 

    Cancer waiting times can vary from individual to individual, depending on the type of cancer and the type of treatment that is required.  Getting an accurate diagnosis of cancer can take weeks or sometimes months which may require several different tests, scans or investigations. Usually, this will not impact on how successful the treatment will be. 

    The time to expect to wait varies depending on where you live. In all UK nations, if someone is referred to a specialist, they should not have to wait longer than 62 days from the referral before starting treatment. If your dad is diagnosed with cancer, he should not have to wait more than 31 days from the diagnosis and treatment plan before he starts treatment. Here is more information on cancer waiting times for Scotland.

    Waiting for tests and results can be a difficult time. We would recommend that you or your dad discuss your concerns about the waiting times directly with his consultant or specialist nurse, if he has one. They should be able to update you on what information they are waiting for.

    I hope this information is helpful but if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

    Best wishes,


    Jo, 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 email us.