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Discovery of lump in neck led to diagnosis

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

18/03/14 cancer survivor Becky Collyer - Burton, Burton Becky Collyer - cancer survivor, promoting spot cancer early campaign.

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A BURTON mum who battled cancer after finding a lump on her neck is supporting a new campaign.

Becky Collyer, 36, from Horninglow discovered she had thyroid cancer in July 2011 after spotting the lump in her neck while tying back her hair.

She is now supporting a campaign from Cancer Research UK called Spot Cancer Sooner which aims to promote a body awareness message.

Becky was getting ready for work at Edgehill Junior School in Stapenhill one morning when she made the discovery.

She said: “As I was tying my hair back into a ponytail I just swallowed and saw this thing move in my neck in the mirror.

“I thought ‘what on earth is that?’ I definitely hadn’t noticed it before and hadn’t had any symptoms.

“So, when I got to school I asked one of my colleagues ‘have I got a lump in my neck?’ and they said ‘yes you have’.”

Becky went to see her GP who immediately referred her to Queen’s Hospital where she was given a fine needle biopsy.

She said: “The biopsy was inconclusive because there was too much blood in the sample, so the consultant said they needed to take the lump out to be on the safe side.”

Becky, who is now in remission, underwent surgery to remove the three centimetre lump together with half of her thyroid gland, before returning to hospital weeks later to be told she had papillary thyroid cancer.

She said: “They told me before the results came back that there was a possibility of cancer, but it was rare for someone of my age and the statistics were in my favour.

“So, it was a hell of a shock when they confirmed I had cancer. I was very upset and very shocked, but the consultant was fantastic and talked me through what was going to happen next.”

The remainder of the thyroid gland was removed to prevent further risk. She was then sent to the Royal Derby Hospital for radioactive iodine treatment where she spent three days in a lead-lined isolation room. At home she wasn’t allowed to go within six feet of anyone for a week.

“It was horrible having two operations, and pretty hard not being able to touch my children for a week. But I am so lucky compared to what might have happened if I had missed the lump, or my GP hadn’t been so fast in getting it sorted.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.cruk.org/spotcancersooner

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