A BRAVE woman whose lung cancer spread after her operation was delayed by Covid-19 says she could have died due to the pandemic.

Alison McCloy, 50, was due to undergo surgery last March but when coronavirus hit and NHS activity was stopped, it was put back until June.

When she did finally did get her life-saving operation at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, the cancer had spread to her right lung and she will now need a further operation.

Alison, who lives with her husband Brian in Greenock's Glen Douglas Place, said: "I feel quite emotional at times and quite hurt by it all.

"I was scared when the operation was delayed.

"You just don't know what's happening inside your body.

"I could have died."

Alison went for a routine check in November 2019 after getting the all-clear from bowel cancer in August the year before, but the appointment brought bad news.

She told the Tele: "My bowel surgeon Mr Vella saw a mass on my left lung.

"I'd just went back to work and I got a call from my consultant at the Royal Alexandra in Paisley asking me to get to the hospital within two hours.

"I was referred to a lung specialist at Paisley between Christmas and New Year.

"He told me it was untreatable because it was too near a blood vessel, but Mr Vella asked for a second opinion and referred me to a Mr Kirk at the Golden Jubilee Hospital.

"He told me it was no problem to operate and it would be carried out at the beginning of March."

Just as she was ready to go in for lifesaving surgery, lockdown hit.

Alison said: "Covid kicked in and we were told no operations were being carried out.

"I still hadn't heard anything by the end of May and I was told the surgeons were still waiting for the go-ahead from Nicola Sturgeon.

"I called one Monday and they got back to me on the Wednesday to go in to hospital that Sunday.

"When I came round in the high dependency unit, the doctor told me that the cancer had spread to my right lung.

"I was on my own in hospital because no-one was allowed to visit and I had to Facetime Brian on my phone.

"One of the nurses was so good helping me through it."

The delay meant that Alison, who works for the DWP, has to undergo a second operation to remove a lobe from her right lung.

She is now undergoing chemotherapy which is making her very poorly, and the effects are being exacerbated by the fact that her bowel has been removed.

Medics say her lung cancer is linked to the bowel cancer, even though she had 77 lymph nodes removed.

Alison had a scan three months ago which showed she was cancer-free and she is anxiously awaiting the results of a second.

The whole experience has been very traumatic for her and Brian, also 50, and their daughters Kirsty, 26, and Emma, 24.

The couple also have two grandchildren, Caleb and Zac.

She said: "I feel lucky to be here, I'm too young to die.

"I have so much to look forward to with my kids and my grandchildren."

Alison, whose lung function is now greatly impaired on both sides, feels her situation could have been handled better.

The grandmother said: "I feel Covid has been the one thing on the agenda.

"I think cancer patients are the hidden victims of this."

Brian says he was surprised cancer operations could be taken 'off the table' during lockdown.

He said: "I thought it would be minor operations, not lifesaving surgery.

"I feel operations should have been prioritised.

"I didn't realise consultants had to wait to get the go-ahead."

Alison says she is now looking forward to a better year and staying positive.

She praised Jacqueline Coyle, a welfare rights officer with Macmillan Cancer Support, the NHS and HSCP, for all their support and encouragement.

Alison said: "Jacqueline has arranged for counselling, got me a new tumble dryer and helped with all my PIP benefit forms.

"She has been a godsend and the oncology ward at Inverclyde Royal has been amazing as well."

Jacqueline told the Telegraph that it was a pleasure assisting Alison.

She added: "We are here to offer financial support and other resources.

"People can contact the service for an assessment, we can refer clients for counselling and assist if people need help with fuel poverty or debt, it is a very comprehensive service.

"It means medical staff can focus on medical issues and nurses can refer clients to me about other concerns."

*If any patient needs help from the Macmillan service they can call 01475 715365.