A woman who’s had cancer three times in the last 10 years faced a nine week wait for treatment after the latest diagnosis – until the Herald&Post intervened.
Valerie Thomas, 72, who was born in Luton’s Grove Road Maternity Hospital but now lives in Leighton Buzzard, was due to have surgery at the Luton&Dunstable Hospital yesterday (May 28) to remove a squamous cell carcinoma on her arm – an operation originally scheduled for July 8.
The former Sainsbury’s check out operator, a breast cancer survivor who had gruelling radiotherapy last year for a similar condition on her face, went to the L&D in April when a sore and itchy lump just above her right wrist wouldn’t heal.
She said: “The consultant didn’t seem too concerned, I think he thought I was being over-anxious.
“They only did a biopsy because I insisted.
“And I had to wait three weeks for that, then another two for the result.
“It really stressed me out. I just knew in my head and heart it was going to be another squamous cell carcinoma.
“When they said I’d have to wait nine weeks for an appointment, I thought they were joking - I wanted to have it cut out as soon as possible.
Valerie told the Herald she tried to argue her case for an earlier appointment but says she was told there were already lots of people waiting.
The mother of one has already lost both her parents and two sisters to the disease.
She had contacted the L&D’s Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) who were very helpful.
But it took a phone call from this newspaper to secure yesterday’s appointment.
Valerie said: “I’m so grateful to the Herald&Post. This has been such a horrible journey and now every day is important and valuable.”
The Luton and Dunstable Hospital had not commented as the Herald went to press.