Locals affected by an NHS move to give breast cancer patients lower doses of chemotherapy have created a support group while the fallout continues.
Scottish Government cancer expert Dr David Dunlop has been appointed to review the treatment plans of 14 people who died of breast cancer after the local health board admitted it had given patients lower doses of chemo than other Scottish health boards.
A report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland revealed Tayside oncologists were unwilling to “endorse” a standard dose of docetaxel, which can prevent the spread or return of breast cancer.
Medical professionals prescribed patients on to a dosage lower than in Grampian and Highland while not informing patients and asked for the reduction to be initially removed from reports.
The NHS has apologised, but a breast cancer survivor who now has doubts about the efficacy of her own treatment has created a Facebook group for others like her to provide support.
Lee Dennis, of Perth, was given chemo treatment FEC-T during her treatment in 2017 and set up the NHS Tayside Cancer Care Support Group on Facebook.
Lee, who now believes she is cancer-free, told the Tele: “During the process of giving my consent to treatment, no single health professional ever made mention of how their treatment approach differed to other centres across Scotland.
“Is there a chance that, due to under-dosing my chemotherapy, my disease has a greater than average chance of recurring?
“I genuinely hope not – we have a family of four children from 7-14, and I hope to be with them for as a long as possible.
“It is unconscionable that consultant oncologists saw fit to deceive patients in this way, at an extraordinarily vulnerable time in their lives.
“I hope the group collects a lot of members so all of us can be brought up to speed on developments and provide support for one another.”
NHS Tayside said the decision to reduce the dosage was made with the “sole aim” of reducing side effects – and said the risk to patients was “very small”.
Acting medical director Professor Peter Stonebridge said: “We understand that patients may be feeling worried at this time and we are very sorry for that.”
The board has set up a support line for patients on 08000 858 531 until Monday.