A new target to diagnose cancer within 28 days is to be rolled out across the NHS from next April.
Simon Stevens, head of the NHS in England, is expected to unveil more details on Friday of how he plans to close the cancer survival gap with other European countries including France and Germany.
A new target to give 95% of patients a definitive diagnosis of cancer within 28 days of first seeing their GP was announced in 2015.
Cally Palmer, NHS England's cancer director, told Radio 4's Today programme that rollout of the target, which could save up to 11,000 more lives a year, will begin next April.
The plan is for people to be told they have cancer or given the all-clear within four weeks.
She said that at present "a patient will have a diagnosis from a GP, they will then wait for a consultant appointment, they will then have a series of tests and at some point they will get a diagnosis".
"From next April, 2018, we are going to be rolling out a new faster diagnosis standard so we can measure how fast patients are getting into the system and ensure everyone gets a cancer diagnosis within a 28-day period."