A family in East London has called on NHS hospitals not to delay potentially life-saving treatments following the loss of their daughter.

Waverlea Alphonse had to wait 10 months for her diagnosis and died in August 2019 after her aggressive breast cancer spread had to her lungs.

Waverlea’s family is sharing her story to encourage young women to demand thorough tests if they have concerns about their health, My London reports.

Her dad, Lawrence, 58, said: “Waverlea died as she did because of delays in diagnosing her cancer and her story is one which needs to be told, particularly in light of the current situation.

Waverlea had to wait 10 months for a diagnosis from doctors

“Waverlea wanted to spread a message to others not to allow their genuine concerns to be dismissed by doctors, and that is something people need to be aware of when doctors are under pressure to clear a backlog of appointments and tests.”

Waverlea first suspected that she may have had breast cancer aged 25.

She immediately went to see her GP after discovering a lump in her left breast.

However, when she was referred to Newham Hospital in April 2015, Waverlea was told that an ultrasound scan had shown a small intra-mammary lymph node at the site of the lump.

Reassured that there was nothing to worry about, she was subsequently discharged.

Despite warning specialists that there had been a history of young women developing breast cancer in her family, Waverlea was told that she didn’t qualify to be seen at the Clinical Genetics Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Five months later, Waverlea returned to her GP amid fears that the lump had grown. She was prescribed painkillers.

After another visit to her GP in February 2016, Waverlea was finally referred to a specialist oncologist.

Ten months after she first sought medical attention, Waverlea was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Despite having a double mastectomy, lumpectomy and almost total lymph node clearance, Waverlea’s cancer returned in October 2018.

Shortly after, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, losing her life aged 29.

Before she died, Waverlea began legal proceedings against Barts Health NHS Trust.

This led to her receiving a letter of apology just weeks before her death.

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We offer our deepest sympathies to Ms. Alphonse’s family for their loss.

"We are extremely sorry that the care provided to Ms. Alphonse did not meet the high standards we set ourselves and recognise that an expert review found that diagnosis and treatment could have been provided sooner.

“As a trust, we continue to work and take action to ensure similar situations are avoided in the future.”

Laura Larkin, a medical negligence specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, has alleged that the reporting of the ultrasound scan carried out in April 2015 fell below a reasonable standard, which denied Waverlea her chance of beating the disease.

“She felt she was dismissed from the very start by the specialists at hospital because of her age,” her father Lawrence said.

“She always said they treated her like she was being paranoid and that there was nothing to worry about, and she felt this attitude of doctors meant they weren’t being thorough enough, and that is why the cancer was missed.

“What message does it send to make a young woman feel that way? Waverlea wasn’t someone who would always be worrying about her health.

"If she went to the doctor it was only ever because she was truly unwell or she was genuinely concerned over something.

“Even when Waverlea was facing her own battle, and losing her fight for life, she was thinking about others.

That makes me very proud and it is why I want to take the opportunity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to tell her story.”