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Scots mum's cancer tumour tripled in size during lengthy wait for treatment

Daily Record logo Daily Record 15/08/2022 Vivienne Aitken
Kayleigh McLean's tumour almost tripled in size in the time she had to wait for treatment. © Collect. Kayleigh McLean's tumour almost tripled in size in the time she had to wait for treatment.

A cancer patient waited so long for treatment her tumour had almost tripled in size by the time it was cut out. Kayleigh McLean, 24, had Covid-19, so when she felt a lump in her throat she thought it was related to the virus.

But she said: “I quickly started to feel sick and within a few weeks the lump could be felt by other people and I was struggling to swallow. An ultrasound discovered it was a solid mass and it was measured at 3cm.”

She was referred to the ear, nose and throat department at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Kayleigh, who lives in Campbeltown, Argyll, with her husband Eli, 28, and step-daughter Eve, 10, was told she’d be seen within a fortnight last November. But it took until January before she had a biopsy at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital.

A few weeks later she was told there was a “high possibility” the lump was cancerous and would have to be cut out along with half her thyroid gland. She had to undergo further tests before the operation went ahead in June – months after the discovery. Under the target waiting times for cancer, her operation should have gone ahead within 31 days.

Kayleigh, who is Eli’s carer, continued: “I only got my operation because there was a cancellation. I was phoning every couple of weeks and was told people with cancer were being given priority. But I had been told there was a high possibility I had cancer and I was already awaiting genetic testing because so many of my family have had cancer.

“My dad died from stomach cancer two years ago and my grandfather was diagnosed and died of oesophageal cancer in the time I had waited for treatment. I just felt I was brushed aside. The day after my operation, I asked how big it was because I could feel it growing in the time I waited.

"They told me it was 8cm – quite a difference to the 3cm it was measured at in January – and my cancer was at stage three. They said it as if it was nothing.”

Kayleigh was officially diagnosed with cancer last month. She underwent a second operation to remove the remainder of her thyroid. She will now have radioactive iodine treatment at the Beatson but is still waiting for a start date and she claimed the hospital has not been in touch about her treatment plan.

She said: “Everything I know about the treatment I have found out myself on the internet. I feel very let down.”

Last night, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie called for an urgent review of Kayleigh’s case. She said: “It is clearly disappointing that there was such a delay... This should not have happened.”

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesman stated: “We would be happy to discuss Ms McLean’s recent care plan and treatment, as well as any further concerns she may have.”

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