A woman with fast-growing stage-four breast cancer says the NHS has let her down, with delays at every stage of her treatment.
Caroline Boulton, 56, had several appointments for a mammogram, which checks for early signs of cancer, cancelled because of Covid, in March and November 2020.
In late 2021, she found a small lump, went to her GP and was referred urgently to a specialist - but then the delays began.
"They haven't moved quickly enough," Ms Boulton says, who lives in Greater Manchester. "It's been really, really slow."
"Between each appointment, each scan, there's been four-, five-, six-, seven-, eight-week waiting times and delays every time."
The referral letter came through "very quickly" but then she waited three weeks, instead of the recommended two, to see a consultant.
"When I first found the lump, it was only pea-sized," Ms Boulton says. "By the time I got to see the consultant, it was the size of a tangerine."
Her cancer was growing quickly, she was told, but it would be eight weeks before a mastectomy could be scheduled to remove her breast.
"Considering it was fast-growing, that's a huge concern - you're living with that, waiting, knowing it's growing," Ms Boulton says.
When she finally saw an oncologist seven months after finding the lump, had another scan and received the results, the cancer had spread to her liver - and there was no longer any treatment they could offer.
"I've now got stage-four cancer that I shouldn't have - and two years to live."
Source: BBC News, 10 August 2022