A WOMAN believes she may have died if she had not demanded a second opinion after a routine breast cancer scan at under-fire Accrington Victoria Hospital.
Angela Pickup, of Juniper Court, Huncoat, had a mammogram at the hospital last autumn after receiving a letter inviting her to attend for a scan.
She claims a radiologist told her a shadow on her scan was a harmless ‘pea-sized cyst’ and advised her to come back six months later.
But after consulting with her family doctor, Angela, 57, was sent for a biopsy with another specialist at the same hospital. He diagnosed cancer.
Just two months later, she had the breast removed to prevent cancer spreading to the rest of her body - two months before she was originally advised to return for a follow-up appointment.
The hospital is at the centre of a storm after NHS bosses told 18 women - originally given the all clear by one of its radiologists - they have breast cancer.
The male medic, who has not been named, is under investigation after failing to carry out proper tests on 85 women over three years.
Fourteen were found to have invasive breast cancer, and four more had the disease in its early stages.
It has also emerged that the radiologist under investigation worked as a part-time consultant at the Beardwood Hospital in Blackburn between April 2007 and November 2008.
But the private hospital says that patients seen by him had no cause for alarm.
A spokesman said: "Another specialist consultant has audited all of the diagnostic assessments carried out by the individual involved in the issue at the local Trust. That has shown there was nothing to change those patients' diagnoses."
Angela, a full time carer for daughter Sharon who has cerebral palsy, has not been contacted by the hospital about the mammogram blunders.
She said: "This man said he was 99 per cent sure that it was nothing to worry about. But if I had waited and gone back in six months then the cancer may have come through into the rest of the body. My relatives told me to go and get a biopsy and quite frankly if I hadn’t I might be looking at my death bed now."
The faulty tests were carried out between 2005 and 2008 and the Trust claims that all women involved are all now being treated.
Dr Richard Dobrashian, director of Breast Screening for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "While we can not release individual patient details, we can confirm that Mrs Pickup’s breast screening was not affected by the radiologist concerned.
"We can confirm that all women whose breast screening assessments were affected by the actions of the individual radiologist concerned have been contacted by the Trust and have received full explanations and apologies regarding their delayed diagnoses.
"The Trust is confident that any women who have not been contacted by the Trust regarding their screening have not been affected in any way."
The Trust has refused to confirm whether the radiologist has been suspended. A helpline is now open daily from 7am to 10pm, on 01254 732093, and will remain open for as long as required as well as a dedicated email: firstname.lastname@example.org