Ann, a lively, active retiree in her early 70s, has been receiving treatment for thyroid cancer. She tells us about her recent experience of going to hospital for cancer services during the coronavirus pandemic. Here is her story, which is a really important one to share as it could help save lives.
A safe environment for cancer treatment
“The way Barts Health have worked has been excellent. I have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and my nurses and doctors have controlled it perfectly. What’s been most impressive is the way they have adapted to keep me safe.
“I have had to go in for scans and monitoring during the pandemic at both The Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital. I have to say, this was so well managed. They explained all the procedures in place to keep me safe, as well as how important it was to keep my appointment.
“I recognised that it was so much more important to come in for treatment, rather than to stay at home and risk my cancer getting worse.
“In spite of Covid-19, I felt safe at all times. There was hand sanitiser available as you arrived, my temperature was taken, I provided my details for test and trace, I had to wear a face covering and all staff were wearing protective equipment.
“What took me by surprise was, where I had to go in for my blood test, there were not many people there, and everything was fully spaced out so that I didn’t come into contact with other people. The chairs were arranged so that social distancing was in place. What’s more, I didn’t have to wait! I took a ticket and the next number called was mine!
“Overall, I felt very safe there, the hospital was very quiet and you could see all the hard work that has gone into making it a safe environment”.
Fantastic levels of service
“My clinical nurse specialist in the cancer team, is amazing. She has been so helpful for what has been a challenging time for me. If I need to change any appointments, I can phone her up to do this. The communications have been excellent and things have been explained to me really well”.
“I had to travel into central London from Bexleyheath. It is only 35 minutes by train and I walk up from the station. I hardly saw anyone on the train, so it was easy to maintain social distancing. My advice would be to arrange treatment times where you don’t have to travel in rush hour or at busier times.
"If I can travel into central London by public transport during a pandemic aged over 70 and with cancer, there are no excuses for others not to attend cancer screening, diagnosis or treatment services!”
A plea to others
“This is a really important message. There is no need to stay at home and miss out on your vital cancer treatment.
“It is safe to go into hospital. I’m surprised to hear that people could be more scared of Covid-19 than they are of cancer. Hopefully, I am able to help give others the confidence to go in and receive the care they need”.