Businessman's lung cancer missed as he couldn't see his GP in lockdown

‘Workaholic’ businessman, 54, dies after lung cancer was missed because he was unable to see his GP during the first coronavirus lockdown

  • Andy Steels tested negative for Covid twice despite developing a chesty cough
  • Tragically, his true diagnosis only came to light months later when it was too late
  • He is one of 50,000 who have missed a cancer diagnosis due to the pandemic

A ‘workaholic’ businessman whose lung cancer was missed because he was unable to see his GP during the first coronavirus lockdown has died.  

Andy Steels tested negative on two occasions for Covid-19, despite developing a chesty cough around the same time the pandemic was taking its grip on the UK. 

However, his true diagnosis only came to light when it was too late.

Charities say as many as 50,000 people have missed a cancer diagnosis as a result of the Covid crisis. 

Andy Steels tested negative on two occasions for Covid-19, despite developing a chesty cough around the same time that the pandemic was taking its grip on the UK. His true diagnosis tragically came too late

Mr Steels lived in Hull with his wife Jo, pictured together, and was the popular co-owner of AJS Tyres

Mr Steels, who lived in Hull, along with his wife Jo, was the popular co-owner of AJS Tyres and continued to graft despite falling ill, eventually getting a phone appointment with a doctor on June 15.

‘Andy was a workaholic, he always said he’d die with his boots on,’ his wife said.

‘Back in March Andy started to feel chesty, he had a cough and was immediately tested for Covid-19, it came back negative. He was tested again in April, negative again.

‘Andy had a cough all his life, but this cough was different. We tried to get in to see a GP in March but couldn’t and Andy wasn’t getting any better.’

In June, the loving husband, father and grandfather was referred for an emergency chest x-ray and, after numerous tests, he was phoned at work by his GP who revealed his devastating diagnosis.

He had developed stage four lung cancer.

Andy was admitted to Castle Hill Hospital for treatment but was found to be too unwell for chemotherapy. The cancer had spread throughout his body, including into his liver and kidneys.

His funeral was held on August 18.


In June, the loving husband, father and grandfather, pictured left and right, was referred for an emergency chest x-ray and, after numerous tests, he was phoned at work by his GP who revealed his devastating diagnosis

Jo said: ‘The medical professionals kept saying that if he’d got here quicker there would’ve been more that they could do to stop the tumour spreading.

‘He was too poorly for chemotherapy, the cancer had spread too far, by now it was in his liver and kidneys.

‘Andy died within six weeks of his diagnosis.’

Andy is one of an estimated 50,000 people who have missed a cancer diagnosis due to the pandemic, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

He passed away the day after his 54th birthday, leading his wife to lead a campaign to raise money for the charity.

‘Andy and I were always ‘go-to people’; we were fixers. We always had a positive state of mind and I want to keep that going through this fundraising for Macmillan,’ she said.

‘Cancer hasn’t gone anywhere and families all over the country are losing people too soon because of delays to diagnosis and treatment.

We can’t let cancer become the ‘Forgotten C’.’

Andy was admitted to Castle Hill Hospital for treatment but was found to be too unwell for chemotherapy

Jo has organised numerous fundraising events including a Macmillan coffee morning, charity golf day, Christmas raffle and more, to raise vital funds for the charity.

Commenting on the dire situation many families are facing, Julie Hoole, Macmillan’s Strategic Partnership manager for Yorkshire, said: ‘Because of the pandemic, Macmillan estimate that an additional 50,000 people are missing a cancer diagnosis and others are having their appointments disrupted. 

‘It is unbearable to hear stories like that of Jo and Andy, where delays have had an effect on treatment options.

‘Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid-19 and neither can our health services.

‘Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to support people with cancer and our exhausted NHS staff, but we need more. Governments need to promise every person with cancer that they won’t be forgotten and ensure cancer services are protected, come what may.’ 

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