A York man has spoken about the hell of being stuck on an NHS waiting list while a cancerous lesion on his cheek gets bigger and bigger.

Plasterer Mark Woodhouse, 57, from Strensall, went to a private skin clinic in January about what he thought was a cosmetic blemish on his cheek. They told him it was almost certainly a type of skin cancer known as a basal cell carcinoma - and urged him to go to his GP.

He did so, and was referred on to York Hospital for an appointment with a specialist. But he was told that because the lesion was 'not a particularly dangerous one', he might have to wait up to six weeks.

He was given a hospital appointment for April 7. That would have been 12 weeks after first seeing his GP, he said. "But I wasn’t worried after being told it was a simple treatment."

But as coronavirus spread, his appointment was cancelled - just one of hundreds if not thousands of cancelled appointments in the York area alone.

Eventually he was given a new appointment for August 11 - but shortly before he was due to attend that, too, was cancelled.

Mark has since spoken to his GP practice by telephone again several times - including once when he was asked to take a photograph of his lesion and upload it. The practice told him the lesion had not grown - and reassured him that he was on the hospital's waiting list for an appointment.

But as of today, he still has no hospital appointment.

It is hugely worrying and stressful, he said. "Initially it was just a small blemish, but it is now the size of perhaps a Smartie.

"Although the cancer won’t spread to other organs it is on my face and growing. The bigger it gets the bigger the scars. I also understand that it could grow into muscle which would mean a larger scar (and) also a greater risk of nerve damage.

"I understand the problems the hospital has. But nobody has actually seen me since I first presented in January. Even if I get a letter tomorrow it would be another three months before the appointment."

Asked about Mark's case, a spokesperson for York Hospital said: "We are risk-assessing every patient on our waiting lists to ensure we prioritise patients on the basis of their clinical needs. Those with a greater level of urgency are seen more quickly.

“We understand that these waits may impact on people’s quality of life and we are working hard to identify extra capacity to treat patients as quickly as possible.”