A WREXHAM mum has said she has waited double the time she should for an urgent referral after finding a lump.

Carrie Foster, a 47-year-old change manager, discovered the lump in her breast three weeks ago and was seen by her GP, who sent an urgent referral for her to be seen by a Rapid Access Breast Clinic which provides diagnostic tests to detect cancer in its early stages.

She said that she was told by her GP that she would be seen within two weeks, however only recently, she has been given an appointment for a mammogram next week, four weeks after she initially saw her GP.

Carrie is familiar with the signs of breast cancer and knows the importance of early treatment.

She said: “My Mum has battled breast cancer twice, having a mastectomy in December 2021. Seeing her walk that path leaves me terrified of the “Big C” and particularly fearful of breast cancer. But it has also made me very breast aware.

“On finding the lump I contacted the GP and was seen that day. I marked the spot with a felt tip pen, a black X wasn’t needed because it was obvious where the lump is. The GP examined me, remarked that my breast felt fuller than the other one and that I had swelling under the armpit.”

The Leader: Carrie FosterCarrie Foster

Carrie said that on the advice of her GP she rang the booking line at the Maelor Hospital after not hearing back and was told that lots of women with urgent referrals are in the same position.

“This isn’t an ingrowing toenail,” she commented, “this is potentially cancer.”

She added: “Not knowing is worse than getting bad news, when myself and all the other women on the waiting list are already fearing the worst. My Mum who lives in Bournemouth was seen in a week and had been operated on within six weeks of getting the diagnosis.”

Carrie, who has two autistic children in need of care and so needs her own health issues to be dealt with quickly, says that something has to change so that potentially hundreds of people do not have to wait for double the time they should for an urgent referral.

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Carrie has also been in touch with Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham, and MS Lesley Griffiths.

 Gill Harris, executive director for Integrated Clinical Services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We understand this is a difficult time for Mrs Foster and we apologise for the time it has taken to arrange her appointment.

“The number of referrals for urgent suspected cancer has increased in recent months and we are in the process of increasing the number of clinics in order to reduce the waiting times.

“We are in contact with Mrs Foster and will respond to her concern directly.”

The Suspected Cancer Pathway (SCP) is a Welsh Government target for diagnosing cancer and starting treatment more quickly. It aims for all patients to begin their treatment no later than 62 days from the first-time cancer is suspected.