A cancer patient told how her life was “ruined” afer she was denied cancer treatment because of the Covid lockdown. Fiona Weir, 44, was concerned about the changing shape and colour of a mole but she was unable to see a doctor face to face during lockdown.
She had gone to her GP in January 2020 and, while she wasn’t too concerned, she said she would refer her to a dermatologist. But then lockdown hit and despite the changes her surgery said they weren’t seeing anyone face to face and no appointment arrived from dermatology because of the pandemic.
Fiona watched as the mole turned from light brown to dark brown, then black and grew in size. By the end of April, it had grown massively and she was having sleepless nights but she was still unable to access medical help.
The following month when a red ring appeared around it a second GP asked her to send a photograph of the mole. She was referred to dermatology as an emergency and she was seen a week later. The mole was cut out straight away but it took until September before they decided to remove the lymph nodes.
And it was November before the operation was carried out – six months after her skin cancer was discovered. By the time the results of the lymph node biopsy from her groin came back her cancer was at stage three but it was January 2021 before treatment started – a full year after she first raised concerns about her mole.
She said: “It is completely unacceptable but I count myself as one of the lucky ones. There were other people treated at the same time in a much worse state than me because of delays.
“I now have lymphodema in my right breast because they had to take the lymph nodes from under my arm and it has caused a fluid build-up. This has ruined my whole life. It has changed me as a person. They have ruined my life.
“The treatment for cancer has caused thyroid problems. It affects me day to day because my breast weighs a ton and because of the thyroid problem I have piled on weight.
“I feel blubby and ugly but I can’t do anything about it. If it had been found at the earliest stage it wouldn’t have spread to my lymph nodes and I wouldn’t have had to have had further surgery, it would just have been cancer cells which could have been cut out.
“Even now when I go for CT scans every six months I have months of worry waiting for the results because of the backlogs. I blame the Government – all the shutdowns have caused absolute mayhem, there is not the funding the NHS requires and the wages are ridiculous.
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“There is not a fair distribution of wealth. My life is ruined. It is absolutely hideous what they have done to me. If they had sent me to dermatology when I told them, there is no way I would be in this position.
“They say this is the pandemic, but wait another two or three years and see what happens – it will be a pandemic when everyone who wasn’t able to see a doctor for lumps they found have all sorts of trouble.”
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