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‘We were robbed of those final days’ - Daughter’s quest to quicken results after father’s cancer death

PUBLISHED: 11:41 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:51 27 September 2018

Gemma Woodcock and her father. Picture: Gemme Woodcock

Gemma Woodcock and her father. Picture: Gemme Woodcock

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A woman who promised her father that she would try and influence change in cancer testing after he lost his battle with the disease has started a petition.

Stephen Woodcock on his bike, where he was happiest. Picture: Gemma WoodcockStephen Woodcock on his bike, where he was happiest. Picture: Gemma Woodcock

Gemma Woodcock, 33, from Bungay lost her father Stephen Woodcock, aged 63 on June 18, 2018, after his ocular melanoma eventually metastasised.

He was diagnosed at the James Paget Hospital in May 2011 after a routine scan found the cancer in his liver.

His journey then sent him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Mrs Woodcock said: “Due to the diagnosis we had to have scans every six months to check on his liver and in September 2016 they found a suspicious spot.

wearing an eye patch last year on wearing an eye patch last year on "Eye Patch Day" to raise money for OcuMel, the ocular melanoma charity. Picture: Gemma Woodcock.

“It took weeks and weeks for the results to come back, meaning opportunities for treatment were lost.”

Mrs Woodcock has now started a petition to put pressure on health authorities to ensure that cancer test results take no more than a week to get back to patients.

Her father, who lived in Lowestoft for most of his life, was later put into a privately funded medical trail which saw results come back much quicker.

Mrs Woodcock said: “Things can go wrong really fast with cancer, I feel it’s important for results to come back promptly to ensure nurses can do everything they can for patients like my dad.”

Stephen Woodcock on his bike, where he was happiest. Picture: Gemma WoodcockStephen Woodcock on his bike, where he was happiest. Picture: Gemma Woodcock

His final chance at treatment, was denied after it took over three weeks to get results from a scan.

The scan showed that he was able to begin a new chemotherapy regime, by the time we knew this his blood tests showed it was too late-the cancer had taken over his liver almost completely, he died two weeks later.

Mrs Woodcock said: “He was so fit and healthy, still cycling up until three weeks before he died.

He had hope, but once they said they couldn’t do anything more, he lost hope that’s when he died.

“The hospital staff were brilliant, I think the problem is with the staffing.”

There are currently no guidelines which determine how long a cancer patient should be expected to wait for scan or test results.

This means that many patients are waiting for several weeks to know their fate, holding up treatment.

Mrs Woodcock promised her father that she would try and influence change regarding test results, she said: “Although we knew he was a terminal patient, we felt almost that we were robbed of those final days with him.”

To sign the petition, visit www.cancerpetition.co.uk

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