A 31-year-old mother died from bowel cancer after her chemotherapy was paused in March due to coronavirus restrictions.
Kelly Smith’s doctors from England’s National Health Service told her in March, around the time the country shut down, that her treatment would be paused as part of a scramble to open up hospital beds, according to Daily Mail.
“I’m angry at Covid and that I got put on this break because I don’t think I should have,” Smith reportedly said at the time. “I’m terrified — absolutely terrified. I don’t want to die. I feel like I’ve got so much more to do.”
Smith’s cancer spread to other parts of her body over the next few weeks, and she died on June 13.
Many in England experienced similar situations with delayed diagnosis, drug trials, and surgeries, and Cancer Research U.K. believes there is currently a backlog of 3 million people who are waiting for screenings.
Charities have estimated that 35,000 extra deaths next year could occur as a direct result of pandemic lockdowns. A study conducted by Just Facts echoed a similar sentiment concluding that lockdowns could destroy seven times the years of life that they save.
“Cancer is not a disease where you can put people on the shelf for three months,” professor Karol Sikora, a consultant oncologist at the University of Buckingham, told Daily Mail. “It’s not like hip replacements or cataract surgery where patients on the waiting list face immense discomfort – if cancer isn’t diagnosed and treated promptly, it can spread, and more people will die.”
The United Kingdom is currently weighing a second coronavirus shutdown as increased testing has led to increased positive cases.
“I am afraid we are going to have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly,” British professor Peter Horby said this week.