"My experience of Breast Cancer."

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Cancer Services (Medical Oncology)

(as the patient),

In early October 2012 I had my 1st Mammogram. In early November 2012 I had a 2nd Mammogram, Ultrasound & Biopsy. In mid November 2012 I received my Cancer diagnosis. In early December 2012 I had my 1st surgery. In late December 2012 I received the results and required further surgery. In mid January 2013 I had further surgery. In early March 2013 I was told at my Oncology Clinic appt. (by a Locum Consultant) that I would have my markers done the next week and would commence radiotherapy treatment 2 weeks later. After 2 weeks I contacted my Breast Care nurse as I hadn't received an appt - she checked for me and I was given the date for late April - 15 weeks after surgery - recommended time is 6 weeks after surgery.

During the course of my surgeries I saw 3 surgeons as they couldn't fit me into their 'fail times'. This, obviously, didn't provide continuity but I can't fault any of the Breast Cancer team they were all brilliant and kept me well informed. As for the Oncology Dept, to be told by a Consultant that I would commence Radiotherapy in 2 weeks and then to be kept waiting like this is unacceptable. If the recommendation is Radiotherapy 6 weeks after surgery then that's what it should be . Get more Radiographers, cover Maternity leave, train them up on new machinery. Whatever the problem is, deal with it. All we patients want is closure and to get on with our lives.

For me the ultimate blow was that because I was told I would have Radiotherapy within 2 weeks I took the heartbreaking decision to have my old dog put to sleep. She would have passed away in a few weeks and I didn't think I would be strong enough during Radiotherapy to deal with it. Now ironically, she could have passed away naturally. I could have grieved for her and still been waiting for my treatment.

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Response from Laura Gray, Director of Corporate Communications, NHS Grampian

We were so sorry to read of your circumstances and in particuar the very difficult decsison you took in relation to your dog, which must have been terribly distressing for you. Thank you for your positive comments about the breast cancer team.

We would like to look into the issue of the delay in your radiotherapy in more detail. If this would be acceptable to you could you let us know. We will post contact details for the appropriate manager and will arrange for a telephone conversation or a meeting - whatever is most convenient for you.

Thank you

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Update posted by LEM (the patient)

Thank you for your reply to My Story. I would be grateful if you would look into the delay in my radiotherapy - not only for me but, also, for all the other patients who are in a similar situation - I'm sure I'm not alone.

I shall await contact details - but I would say that if the appropriate manager is my Consultant Oncologist she cannot see me before 20th May at the earliest!! By that time I hope to be finished my radiotherapy and on my way to closure.

Thank you.

Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear LEM

Please contact me at loldroyd@nhs.net so that we proceed with this investigation.

Hoping this finds you well.

Kind regards

Linda O

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Update posted by LEM (the patient)

My story (hopefully) has come to an end now - but it would be remiss of me not to mention the later chapters! I received my radiotherapy towards the end of April - 14 weeks after my 2nd surgery - the Radiotherapy staff were all great and accommodated my appointments so that I could carry on working throughout treatment.

I had no further communication from the communications team (see above 8/4/2013). I saw my Consultant Oncologist for the first time on after I had completed my radiotherapy.

I replied as requested (see above 23/5/2013) on 6/6/2013 and she replied on 11/6/2013 asking if she could give me a call. I replied on 15/6/2013 with my telephone numbers. No one has been in touch with me again. Very disappointing as I felt with that title I could get somewhere.

I would like to thank Patient Opinion for the chance to tell my story and hope it helps others to know that they're not alone.