Stephen Fry hailed for rise in cancer check referrals

Stephen Fry. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Stephen Fry. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Stephen Fry has been credited for a record 2.2m people being checked for cancer by the NHS in England last year after he spoke out about being diagnosed with the disease.

Mr Fry, who grew up in Norfolk and still has a home in the county, revealed he had prostate cancer surgery in January last year.

And it was the candid nature of the 61-year-old discussing the disease, along with former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, 63, and journalist Jeremy Bowen, 59, which health bosses say have pushed more people to get symptoms checked out.

The figure - up from 1.9 million in 2017 - amounts to almost 6,000 patients a day being screened following urgent referrals from GPs.

Record numbers of people were also treated for cancer last year, with 308,058 receiving a first treatment in 2018, almost 13,000 more than in 2017 and the first time the number has topped 300,000, NHS England said.

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The health service said the rise is also due to new guidance introduced for GPs in 2015, which lowered the threshold for cancer referrals.

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