Behind the scenes: Treating cancer in the coronavirus crisis

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides

Charities are warning that nationally more than 2,000 new cases of cancer could be going undetected each week, while hospital resources are being used to combat COVID-19.

Many hospitals says they are currently unable to treat certain cancer patients because of the pandemic.

However one hospital in Sussex is on the frontline to tackle this issue.

Every patient who arrives for cancer surgery at Queen Victoria Hospital is tested for COVID-19

The Queen Victoria in East Grinstead is the first hospital in the country to be designated a specialist cancer centre.

It can now take in patients for surgery from other hospitals in Kent, Surrey and Sussex that might not be able to treat them.

Consultant Brian Bisase says: "When COVID-19 came along, much of what we expected and thought initially, was that all elective surgery and urgent work such as cancer would have to stop. However on reviewing how long the peak would be, and if we flatten the curve and the relevance of what would happen after most of the peaks, we realised that cancer patients would end up getting caught out."

It comes after Cancer Research UK warns that more than 2,000 new cases of cancer could be going undetected each week after urgent GP referrals dropped by 25%.

Nicholas Hemming will be discharged following surgery for tongue cancer.

He was treated a few weeks ago as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

He says the dedicated team meant his treatment did not suffer any interference.

All hospitals are having to adapt in light of the coronavirus.

At the Queen Victoria, cancer consultations and surgery are going ahead as planned with some adjustments.

Where possible, some clinics are being held virtually.

Experts say getting cancer treatment as early as possible is vital, with patients being told the NHS is still open for business.

Credit: ITV Meridian