Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has undoubtedly had an impact on the NHS. This includes effects on cancer treatments and diagnosis. Earlier in the month, we wrote about how almost 1 million women had missed breast cancer screenings due to Coronavirus. There are also over 1,500 women waiting for reconstructive surgery, the charity Breast Cancer Now have said.
The charity has found that these women missed out on the surgery because of lockdown, and they are now on long waiting lists to get the treatment. There was already a backlog, which has now been made worse by the pandemic. This backlog will leave many women waiting for months or years to get their reconstructive treatment. At a time where many people have been unable to have face to face appointments, this has no doubt left many women feeling anxious or self-conscious.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, with around 55,000 women and 370 men diagnosed every year.
Of the roughly 11,500 women who die each year, almost all the deaths are caused by secondary breast cancer. This is where the disease has spread to other parts of their body, such as the liver, brain, or lungs. Women with secondary breast cancer are now reportedly experiencing significant fears for their ongoing survival because of the delays that the Coronavirus pandemic has presented, the charity have also reported.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Delays
There have been delays in the diagnosis of cancers during the pandemic too. Whilst we know that this is sometimes unavoidable, if doctors have had opportunities to diagnose and treat patients with cancer, and have failed to do so, then there may be grounds for a claim for many people. This is especially true if the delay has affected the level of treatment they now must have, or their prognosis.
According to Cancer Research UK, the number of urgent suspected cancer referrals dropped during lockdown. It was at its lowest in April, just after the lockdown began. It reported a drop of 60% from the year previous. Since then they have been slowly improving but are still currently at a level that is lower than pre-lockdown. In England, between March-July there was also a 39% decrease in the number of radiology tests. These tests are key in the diagnosis of cancer. The Institute for Cancer Research has said that the UK could potentially have thousands of attributable cancer deaths because of the pandemic.
Charities that also support the research for life saving cancer treatments have also been affected by the pandemic. Many research centres were closed at the start of the pandemic. This has affected clinical trials for new drugs and treatments too.
The Effects on Mental Health
If you have breast cancer that has been misdiagnosed, had a delay in diagnosis, or are affected by the delays in treatment because of the Coronavirus pandemic, then you may be feeling all sorts of emotions right now. Many people will feel anxious, and have less self-confidence. Some people may also be in shock and confused about the impact this will have on their life. If this was the fault of someone else, for instance a Doctor, then you may be able to claim compensation.
How We Can Help
Here at The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience in dealing with claims. This includes cancer negligence claims. If you have suffered due to negligence, then you may be able to claim. contact us today by filling in our contact form or call us on 01614138761 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.