Leeds mum who had cancer op cancelled due to Covid has now had surgery

A Leeds mum whose cancer operation was cancelled because of the Covid pandemic is looking forward to spending the summer with her family after undergoing the surgery.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 4:45 am
Dawn and Mark Dillon pictured in February Photo: Simon Hulme

Mum of one Dawn Dillon, 57, of Rothwell, is suffering from advanced ovarian cancer, which has spread to other areas of her body.

Mrs Dillon was set to undergo major surgery at St James’s Hospital in early February, but she was told it was cancelled because there would not be enough staff to provide post operative healthcare as they were needed on Covid wards.

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Mrs Dillon's husband Mark said the six hour operation was rescheduled and took place on March 13 when surgeons were able to remove the majority of the cancer.

Mrs Dillon has now finished her final round of chemotherapy and the family is hopeful that a new maintenance drug called niraparib - which she is due to start taking soon - will allow her to enjoy spending time with family this summer.

"We are very hopeful that it will maintain what Dawn has now," said Mr Dillon.

Mr Dillon said his wife will still have to undergo regular scans and blood tests.

"We are really looking forward to going to parks for some little walks in the coming days and weeks.

"But we have still got to be ultra cautious. Even a cold wouldn't be a good thing for her because her ability to fight infection at the moment is not good.

"She has had both jabs now but they are still saying we have to be ultra cautious when we go out."

After Mrs Dillon's operation was cancelled in February, Mr Dillon urged people to follow Covid rules.

Mr Dillon said he understood the pressures the NHS was facing, but he was concerned that some people were no longer following the lockdown rules.

“My greatest wish is for everybody to obey the Covid rules," he told the YEP in February, adding: "If you do obey the rules it means people like my wife can have their cancer operations.”

Mrs Dillon was diagnosed with stage 4b ovarian cancer in October 2020 and told that it had spread to her abdomen and lymph nodes in her groin, liver and heart.

Mr Dillon said that at that stage, his wife was told that an operation would be too risky as the cancers were too large.

Mrs Dillon started three months of chemotherapy in November and was told at the end of that treatment that her cancers had reduced in size by up to 50 per cent.

Doctors told Mrs Dillon on January 20 that surgery to remove as many of the cancers as possible was then an option.

A date was set for the surgery at St James’s Hospital on February 11.

Mr Dillon said his wife had suffered problems with a bloated stomach for a number of months before her cancer diagnosis.

Persistently feeling bloated and full is one of the most common early signs of ovarian cancer.

Mr Dillon said: “We didn’t know that at the time and I would urge women with symptoms to see their doctor.”