TWO young women have died of cancer after missing proper care during the pandemic – as MPs warn Britain is on the brink of a “cancer disaster”.
Latifah King, 27, and Kelly Smith, 31, both died tragically from cancer after treatment delays due to Covid lockdowns.
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Young mum Kelly had paused her chemotherapy for colon cancer for three months during the initial lockdown due to pressure on the NHS from the virus.
The esthetician and mother of six-year-old Finn was halfway through her treatment when the pandemic hit – and her stepfather Craig Russell said last year her life had been ‘traded’ for that of Covid patients.
Latifah King was first told she had sciatica and was unable to personally see a doctor or offer tests.
Sciatica is where the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the feet, is irritated or compressed.
But after suffering “excruciating” pain and seeing visible lumps, she was hospitalized — then diagnosed with an aggressive form of soft tissue cancer.
She died a week after her diagnosis.
Speak with Daily mail, the 27-year-old’s twin sister said she believed Ms. King had been “brushed to the side” because “the only killer they see now is Covid”.
She added: “If it hadn’t been a pandemic, I believe more would have been done. Covid means other diseases are being pushed aside.”
Their deaths are just a snapshot of the tragic reality of a strained health service during a global pandemic – with MPs now warning Britain is facing a ‘cancer disaster’.
A group of 75 cross-party politicians say as many as 100,000 people could miss out on cancer treatment due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – with many dying unnecessarily.
Prime Ministers have written to Boris Johnson demanding that the cancer treatment backlog be addressed “with the same political will as the rollout of vaccinations”.
The coalition of MPs also warned that “cancer lives are already being lost and we may lose as many as 35,000 patients and 60,000 life years to cancer as a result of cancer retardation.”
They said the spring budget, unveiled by the chancellor on March 3, would be the “ideal opportunity” for a newly revitalized cancer recovery plan.
MPs say 50,000 patients are believed to be living with undiagnosed cancer due to disruption caused by Covid.
WHAT IS LUNG CANCER AND WHAT ARE THE MAIN SYMPTOMS?
Lung cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that begin in one or both lungs — usually in the cells that line the airways.
Instead of developing into healthy lung tissue, these cells divide quickly and form tumors.
As these tumors grow and spread, they weaken the lung’s ability to oxygenate the bloodstream.
However, not all tumors are created equal.
Tumors that stay in one place and don’t seem to spread are called “benign tumors.”
What are the symptoms?
If you have a persistent cough, feel tired and lose your appetite, this could be mistaken for a virus or cold, it could be a sign of something more serious and worth checking out.
Other symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- Usually cough
- A change in a cough you’ve had for a long time
- being short of breath
- Coughing up mucus that shows signs of blood
- Pain or pain in the chest or shoulder
- Loss of appetite
- weight loss
In their letter, they wrote: “This figure could rise to 100,000 by the time we get out of the pandemic.
“The question is not whether we should save Covid patients or cancer patients… we can and should be able to save both.”
One of the symptoms of Covid-19 is a new persistent cough, but experts have warned it is also a sign of the UK’s deadliest cancer.
New research from the NHS and Public Health England (PHE) has found that nearly half of people do not know that a persistent cough of more than three weeks can be a symptom of lung cancer.
It also found that 61 percent of people would not make an appointment with their GP if they had a cough for three weeks or more – even if they had tested negative for Covid-19.
The NHS is now urging people with cancer symptoms to come forward after more than 30 per cent of those polled said they didn’t want to make an appointment because they felt they would put a strain on the NHS.
Celebrities have now joined forces with the NHS to highlight the importance of seeing your GP if you have any abnormal symptoms.
The NHS states that more than 39,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK each year.
If you catch the disease earlier, the chance of survival is higher.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “The Government urgently needs to ensure that the NHS gets the funding it needs.
“This spring budget could be the time to give every person with cancer the timely diagnosis and treatment they deserve.”
A government spokesman said: “Every death is a tragedy and our condolences go out to everyone who has lost a loved one to cancer.
“Cancer diagnosis and treatment has remained a top priority during the pandemic.
“An additional £1 billion will be used to boost diagnosis and treatment in the coming year.”