New figures show that cancer patients in Wales are receiving treatment faster than ever before.
Statistics for the first quarter of 2008 show that 98% of patients referred by their GP as urgent suspected cancer cases started treatment within two months.
They also show that 99% of patients referred for another condition – but subsequently diagnosed with cancer – started treatment within one month of diagnosis.
It means that virtually every patient diagnosed with some form of cancer started their treatment within the target times and is a significant improvement on last year's performance.
The figures also show that:
All breast cancer patients started treatment within two months when referred as urgent cases, and all those not referred via the urgent route but subsequently diagnosed with cancer started treatment within a month.
100% of skin cancer patients started treatment within the one month or two month targets, depending on the referral route.
All children diagnosed with cancer and all those suffering from acute leukaemia began their treatment within both target times.
First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "NHS staff must be congratulated for ensuring that cancer patients are getting treated faster than ever, which can make a huge difference in terms of life or death. Swift diagnosis and treatment also greatly reduces the anxiety experienced by patients and their carers."
Cancer is one of Wales's biggest killer diseases. One in three people are diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, with incidence rates varying significantly between different areas within Wales.