Check your neck
Belfast mum Kylee Murphy wants to alert other young women to the signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer after getting a shock diagnosis in 2015.
The 29-year-old recently finished her treatment and is waiting to find out if it’s been a success.
Finding a lump
Kylee first realised something was wrong when she discovered a lump in her neck in February but at first she thought it was the start of a cold. Luckily she mentioned it in passing to her GP while on a routine visit with her son Theo (2).
It never entered Kylee’s head that the lump, the size of a marble, could be sinister, so she was totally unprepared when she was told she had papillary thyroid cancer.
She was also surprised to learn that it mainly affects young women under the age of 45.
“It was such a shock. I was in a bit of a daze as I walked out of the doctors.”
Kylee’s consultant at the Royal Victoria Hospital was hugely reassuring and said that while she had a rough road ahead with surgery and treatment, that he was going for a cure.
Kylee underwent 10 hours of surgery at the Royal on June 30 to remove her thyroid, when it was discovered that the cancer had spread to the other side of her neck.
“I have a scar going from each ear across my collar bone, which was difficult for me to deal with. I am not vain but I just kept thinking ‘I am only 29 and I am disfigured now’, and that was difficult,” she admitted.
“I’d never been separated from Theo before I went into hospital and that was the worst few days of my life and I really missed him. For the first few days, I couldn’t move and was in pain with lots of drains and drips – I didn’t want him to see me like that,” she said.
“I’ve done my fair share of crying about it and being angry about it. Theo is the best possible reason to get up in the morning. I think if he wasn’t here it would be very easy to go to bed and feel awful about it, but he is my reason to get better.”
Kylee strongly urges other young women to be aware of thyroid cancer. If you have any concerns about cancer call our free helpline on 0800 783 3339.