A mother with stage three colon cancer felt “lost” waiting for news after a procedure to diagnose her illness was delayed due to the pandemic.
Sarah Culeen, 36, was due to have a colonoscopy in March after being admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
The procedure was delayed until June, with the cancer diagnosis a week later.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said it has “continued to provide urgent and essential cancer treatment throughout the pandemic”.
Ms Culeen, from Whetstone, Leicestershire, has had her colon removed and is due to start chemotherapy.
She said she felt “anxious” waiting for news but “felt that bigger things were going on during the pandemic”.
Ms Culeen said: “At no point was cancer was mentioned [during the colonoscopy]. I was 35 at the time and nothing pointed to that being a diagnosis”.
However, less than a week later she was told she had colon cancer, and “immediately” operated on.
Though describing the communication from the hospital before the colonoscopy as “quite shocking”, she said treatment since her diagnosis has been “faultless”.
Ms Culeen is doing a five-mile sponsored walk for Bowel Cancer UK and has already raised £5,500.
According to Bowel Cancer UK, by June the number of screening invitations not sent out in England since lockdown began was more than a million which, it said, “equates to 1,350 undiagnosed bowel cancer cases”.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: “In order to protect patients from the risk of infection and prepare for the virus peak earlier this year, we had to pause some tests and procedures.
“We are sorry to anyone who has had to wait longer than usual.”