Bridgend man told brain tumour is inoperable after delays to cancer treatment during lockdown

Simon Green pushed to have a scan of his tumour during lockdown. Credit: ITV Wales

Simon Green's brain tumour has spread like a cracked egg at the back of his skull.

Following successful surgeries in 2018, a scan in November last year revealed the tumour was small and not causing him any major concern. But at the start of 2020 he began to feel unwell and experienced dizzy spells.

He had a scan scheduled for March but when this was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, he began to worry.

Simon believed he could not wait to have his scan carried out. After several forceful telephone conversations and what he says was considerable pressure, he was booked in for May.

"I was devastated to be honest," Simon describes the moment he saw the results of the scan, "I got told it had grown but I didn’t know by how much".

"When I eventually...saw on the screen how much it had grown and spread amongst the brain I was pretty devastated and because of the lockdown rules you can’t take anyone in with you so I was on my own.

"Unfortunately, the treatment they’re going to give me now isn’t there to kill the tumour off and it probably won’t even shrink the tumour, it’s to stop the tumour from spreading any more because it’s quite a fast growing tumour."

Simon strongly believes that delays to his examination and subsequent treatment have created a medical outcome for him that might have been different, if he had been seen sooner.

"The delay in the treatment has angered me to be honest, not towards the NHS who are doing a brilliant job, but I’m pretty certain that if this had been found in March things might be a lot smoother.

“It might be easier to deal with...so I think if found back in March the treatment would have been a lot simpler, I believe that fully to be honest."

Simon thinks that he is more ill now because of the wait caused by coronavirus. He urges anyone who is feeling unwell or who may be showing symptoms of cancer to see their doctor.

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, under which Simon is a patient, said:

It was unfortunate that we had to postpone some services due to the impact of COVID and this was done in line with Welsh Government advice.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Charities have raised concerns about the potential backlog of cancer treatment that needs to be provided in future months, after referrals fell by two-thirds in April.

"The sharp decrease in patients entering the Single Cancer Pathway in April is not a surprise, but is very worrying and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency" according to Tenovus Cancer Care Chief Executive, Judi Rhys.

"It is essential for this backlog to be cleared as quickly as possible, to minimise the number of deaths from cancer as a result of delays during the coronavirus crisis." she continued.

The Welsh Government has confirmed that cancer screening programmesincluding tests for cervical cancer will resume in July.

Simon will now undergo weekly chemotherapy. Credit: Simon Green

"I’ve got to fight a bit more to try and get rid of it." Simon has started chemotherapy, in the hope it will prolong his life for as long as possible "because I’ve got a lot to live for."

Simon has taken part in marathons and dancing competitions in the last year. Credit: Simon Green