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'My husband begged A&E for a cancer scan during Covid,' bereaved wife tells LBC
9 June 2021, 19:24
Eddie Mair's exchange with LaTroya Hall, whose husband died of cancer
Bereaved wife LaTroya Hall told LBC that her husband, who died of cancer at 28, begged A&E for a scan during the height of the pandemic and "if it wasn't for Covid he would have got one."
The conversation came after LBC found fewer than one-in-five hospital trusts are hitting their target of offering cancer patients their first treatment within two months, after analysing NHS England's data.
Back in March 2019, more than 40% of hospital trusts met their target of offering 85% of cancer patients treatment within 62 days. But by March this year – the latest numbers available for this year – that had slipped to just 17%.
LaTroya Hall told Eddie her husband Sherwin had felt groin pain in January and February 2020, and was prescribed some anti-inflammatories - however the pain came back "with a vengeance."
Between March and May, as lockdown was in full force, he got progressively worse and ended up going to A&E constantly, at one point he went thirteen times in one month alone.
"If you average that out, that was every other night," Mrs Hall said.
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She told Eddie that her husband came home after being in hospital one night and said he was so frustrated with being in pain and not getting anywhere that he was going to take his own life.
"It wasn't until we had our baby at the end of March, he could barely walk, he was limping into the delivery suite. One of the doctors came and felt his buttocks and said you must have an abysses."
They took him straight to theatre and put tubes inside him to drain him which he had for the rest of his life.
"He ran into A&E begging, crying for scans, and he was told at one point that it would be at least two months until he could get a scan. It wasn't until one doctor came at the end of May and gave him a scan which showed a 14 centimetre mass in his pelvis."
Sherwin then had many scans and it transpired he also had thirty nodules in his lungs so the cancer had metastasised.
They found that the type of cancer was sarcoma, soft tissue, and the medical belief for this aggressive strain is if you have a tumour of less than 5 centimetres you have a 20% higher survival rate.
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"He did get chemo rather quickly because they knew the aggressiveness of this mutation, so within two weeks of this diagnosis he had had treatment. But after four rounds of his type of chemo it stopped working, he tried a second line of chemo that stopped working, we were then told there was nothing much they could do for us."
After the family tried going to Mexico for alternative treatment, he tragically died before his child was one year old at the age of 28.
LaTroya told Eddie that she was "so angry with the world" and felt strongly about taking her own life, but, she said, "Then you have this little baby that you have to push for and that's why I advocate especially with the Catch Up with Cancer campaign.
"It's a crisis. He was 28 years old and lost his life in a six month battle after having a baby. He had everything to live for. Because of Covid, it's cost him his life. How many other lives is it going to cost?
"If it wasn't for Covid he would have gotten a scan."
The Macmillan Cancer Support line is 0808 808 0000.