Breast cancer patient’s concern that others could slip through the net
- Credit: PA
It is a situation every woman dreads - the terrifying moment of finding a lump in her breast.
And it was no different for Beth White, from Taverham, when she discovered a lump earlier this year. Mrs White had to fight for a breast cancer diagnosis, although it would later be revealed the mother-of-two had the highest grade of invasive tumour.
And now after undergoing gruelling chemotherapy and a mastectomy, she is concerned more women could slip through the net.
Mrs White first went to her doctors surgery, The Taverham Partnership, in February. But the 42-year-old said: 'I was told I didn't fit the criteria for referral to the urgent breast clinic, which would have meant I would be seen within two weeks. I was told I could make another appointment, but to bear in mind I had a routine mammogram coming up in three weeks.'
But at the mammogram there were vital differences between what she would have been offered at the urgent clinic, for example she did not see a doctor or have an ultrasound. And results could take up to three weeks to come back.
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Mrs White said: 'I went back and got an urgent referral. In the meantime my mammogram came back clear, apparently they are only 85pc accurate. I had a grade three invasive tumour, 4.5cm in size and it had spread to two lymph nodes.'
Mrs White was convinced she should have been referred after her first appointment, and looked up national guidelines which said anyone over 30 with an unexplained breast lump should be seen within two weeks.
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In a letter seen by this newspaper the surgery said it uses guidelines issued by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), which seemed more specific.
A NNUH spokesman said: 'NNUH guidelines and referral forms for breast cancer referrals reflect NICE guidelines exactly. We can confirm that we received an urgent referral for this patient and she is being treated according to the prescribed cancer pathway. We would like to reassure patients that we always use national NICE guidelines for breast cancer referrals.'
A statement from Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group added: 'The treatment and care provided to any patient is our highest priority and the NHS will continue to speak with and support the patient in question. We are aware of the concerns she has raised and we are urgently investigating. It is too soon to comment further.'
The Taverham Partnership said they were unable to comment due to data protection law and General Medical Council guidance on patient confidentiality.