A father of four has died after his cancer surgery was postponed due to the pandemic and doctors have warned there could be a “surge” in new cancer cases in the coming months.
Pete Sharp, 60, was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and was due to have surgery.
However 24 hours before his operation, he was told it would have to be cancelled as the intensive care bed he would need for recovery was being used to treat corona patients.
He then died on the 27th of April leaving behind a devastated family including his 23 year old daughter.
Mr Sharp’s daughter, Tayler, said the surgery scheduled for 30 March may have given her father more time with his family.
“It was hard for him, he hid it very well but I knew he was heartbroken,” she said.
“Obviously it really annoyed him but I explained that they weren’t doing it to be horrible, they were doing it because they wanted him to come out the other side of the operation.”
“He had been given a 98% chance of pulling through the operation and living for however long, and it was just snapped away from him just like that because of coronavirus.” she added
Mr Sharp, whose cancer had reached stage four and spread to his lymph nodes, celebrated his 60th birthday on 26 February with Tayler, his two other daughters Elisha, 31, and Hayleigh, 40, as well as his son PJ, 27.
He was described by them as “a bit of a joker” who “loved to play pranks” and was “always ready to put people before himself”.
Miss Sharp said
her father would be happy he did not spend time in pain, adding: “A part of me is like this was probably the best time for Dad and he would want to go being happy and the best that he can.”
It is feared the corona pandemic could result in it’s own pandemic for cancer patients, as many are facing having their treatements delayed with fewer cancers being diagnosed.
Cancer charities and experts have warned that cancer patients should not be left behind during the pandemic.
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said: “Cancer hasn’t gone away in this pandemic but it’s become the slightly forgotten C.”
Professor Karol Sikora, a former World Health Organisation director, said the drop in referrals will “come back to haunt us”.
Professor Sikora said the figures appeared better because the referral rate has slowed significantly with figures released by NHS England today confirming this showing urgent referrals by GPs for suspected cancer cases in March dropping by 8% on the same month in 2019.
“There will be a surge of new cancer patients when we get started again,” he bleakly warned.