Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: NI cancer patients' treatment will be 'disrupted'

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Cancer patients in Northern Ireland have been told disruption to their treatment is inevitable during the coronavirus crisis.

Dr Martin Eatock, a consultant oncologist for the Belfast Trust, told BBC News NI that some surgical cancer treatments were "undoubtedly" being delayed.

The Southern Health Trust have postponed their NHS Breast screening programme for three months.

If patients have not contacted by their consultants already, they will be contacted by phone call or FaceTime, the BBC understands.

Dr Eatock said that stopping treatment or making significant alterations may be suggested to reduce the risk to cancer patients, but they are trying to do as many consultation as they can over the phone.

If there is a significant change to treatment those consultations will be done face-to-face.

"We will not be making decisions about people's treatment without involving them in the discussion and the decision making," he said.

"There are a large number of cancer surgeries that are being delayed because of this as we prepare for what is likely to happen in the next two to three weeks."