- Written by Sam Russell and Katie Prickett
- Press Association and BBC News, Cambridgeshire
A coroner has said it is “concerning” that a man who chose not to pay for medical tests privately died from skin cancer.
Gregor Lin, 24, developed lesions on his neck in 2019 but did not meet the criteria for referral for NHS treatment.
Caroline Jones said it had been privately removed but the samples were not analyzed as cost was clearly a “barrier”.
Cambridgeshire’s coroner has warned of the “risk of future deaths” due to NHS referral guidelines.
Mr Lynn requested private treatment to remove the lesions at a cost of around £140, the assistant coroner wrote in his Future Death Prevention report.
Mr Jones said: “I was advised that histological analysis of the resected sample would incur an additional cost of approximately £65, so I decided not to send the sample for analysis.”
Mr Lin returned to his GP in May 2020 and saw a dermatologist as the lesions “continued to bother him”.
After removal and analysis, it was determined that it was a melanoma, and an ultrasound showed that it had spread to the lymph nodes, chest wall, and lungs.
Despite receiving treatment, “scans in June 2022 confirmed metastases to Gregor’s brain and revealed his condition to be terminal,” Jones said.
Mr. Lin passed away in July 2022, and an autopsy last year concluded that he died of natural causes due to disseminated metastatic melanoma.
Ms Jones wrote to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England about her concerns.
She said: “We cannot conclude that had the samples been sent for analysis in March 2019, signs of melanoma would have been detected.
“Nevertheless, it is concerning that cost appears to be a barrier to receiving the full procedure, including histological analysis.”
“Therefore, patients who do not meet NHS referral criteria, who have to pay for procedures that are carried out privately, do not receive the histological analysis they would otherwise be offered for cost reasons. It seems to me that if you choose , you are at risk of dying in the future. You can join the NHS for free.”
Any party to whom Mr. Jones submitted his Future Death Prevention Report will have 56 days to respond.