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Man dies after cancer services ‘slowed down’ to deal with Covid

16 December 2020

The death of a 27 year-old man from Leeds has highlighted the impact of Covid on non-Covid-related medical care.

It took two months for Sherwin Hall’s leg pain to be diagnosed as stemming from a cancerous pelvic tumour. He had had to “beg” for an MRI scan. His wife LaTroya said had his cancer been found sooner, “it is likely he would still be here today”. According to the BBC, the couple were told that services had been “slowed down because of  the Coronavirus”.

A Panorama programme which aired back in the summer highlighted the ticking time bomb of untreated cancer patients, and estimated that between 7,000 and 18,000 people would die as ‘excess deaths’ – deaths which would otherwise not have occurred directly because of cancer, but because of delays in treatment.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Capacity in the NHS has shrunk drastically over the past ten years due to funding cuts. The pandemic has highlighted the shortage of staff and beds, with all hands to the pump in terms of ‘protecting the NHS’ by keeping as many people out of hospitals and as Covid-free as possible. If the NHS was at capacity before the pandemic, it is little wonder that doctors are now faced with the appalling choice of whether to save Covid or cancer patients.”

Read more on the relationship between cancer treatment and Covid here: https://www.hdruk.ac.uk/news/the-big-c-isnt-covid-19-its-cancer/