Coronavirus: Therapy radiographer urges cancer patients to attend urgent and essential appointments
- Credit: Archant
A therapy radiographer from Archway has advised cancer patients to continue seeking urgent and essential treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kevin Marfell, who works at Guy’s Cancer Centre in Southwark, uses therapeutic doses of radiation to treat people’s cancer.
He says he’s noticed a “slight decrease” in the number of people attending appointments during the outbreak – but has urged patients to continue their treatment unless the NHS recommends against it.
Cancer Research UK says the number of urgent referrals by GPs for people with suspected cancer has decreased by 75 per cent during the pandemic.
The charity warns this is mostly down to less people visiting their GPs, estimating some 2,000 cancer cases could be going undiagnosed each week.
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Cancer screenings are effectively paused in England because screening hubs aren’t sending out invitations – but most urgent and essential cancer treatments are still proceeding.
People with specific cancers have been identified as being “clinically extremely vulnerable” to Covid-19.
The government has advised them to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms.
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Kevin told the Gazette: “This has been an extremely stressful time for cancer patients as some have lowered immunity due to the treatment of some types of cancer or have other underlying health issues.
“I have been very proud of the way my colleagues have coped during this pandemic and still greet patients with positivity and professionalism. Even though you cannot see our smiles behind the PPE we hope you can see it through our eyes and hear it in our voices. I would also like to thank everyone especially my neighbours for their support of key workers as it makes massive difference to our morale so thank you all very much.”
In a message to cancer patients fearful of attending essential appointments, Kevin said: “The benefit of the treatment far outweighs the risk. It’s their own personal choice, but we would encourage everyone to come.”
Kevin has also been treating some cancer patients suffering from Covid-19.
He added: “It’s what we all signed up to do when we joined the NHS, to care for other people, so we put them first.”
Has your cancer treatment been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic? Contact Lucas at the newsdesk on 07785 616244 or email Lucas.Cumiskey@archant.co.uk