An Irish cancer survivor has said the shutdown in non-COVID health care is “just petrifying” for patients.
28-year-old Aoife Rafter completed radiotherapy in January; however, she has had no scans since.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, she said she has been given no indication when her scans and tests will resume.
“I was diagnosed with cervical cancer this time last year when I was 27,” she said. "I have had no scans to see whether there has been any reoccurrence and there has been no outline as to when that might happen.
“I got a letter in the post for an oncology appointment in October that is basically going to be a virtual clinic - which is really just a fancy word for phone call.
“So, I have had no tests, no follow-up and there are no screenings taking pace for other people. It is just petrifying.”
Ms Rafter also has Cystic Fibrosis and said she supports the caution surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak; however, she said patients need to see plans for the full reopening the healthcare system and the outpatient clinics.
“We deserve some information,” she said. “We are just completely winging it. People are terrified that their cancer has reoccurred and they don’t know it.
I am 28 years old.
I finished radiotherapy in Jan,due to Covid, all my scans & exams were cancelled. I have Cystic Fibrosis. Caution re Covid is essential to my survival
So are scans/bloods/exams to ensure I am truly in remission. Please .@SimonHarrisTD
I am terrified pic.twitter.com/ZFkcFkQl23
— Aoife P. Rafter (@aoife_pr) June 15, 2020
“A lot of these people are also cocooning which is a very scary thing and it takes a lot of hard work to keep your mental health in place for that without this fear of the unknown for your [physical] health.
“It is just so stressful.”
It comes after the Health Minister said cancer screening services are not expected to return until the end for the summer.
The National Screening Service said it needed ‘several more months’ to prepare.
You can listen back to Ms Rafter’s interview here: