A MUM was forced to stay away from her baby son after being given potentially dangerous treatment when she found she had a rare form of cancer.
New mum Jill Teasdale could not get close to little son Max just months after he was born after contracting thyroid cancer.
The 30-year-old found a lump in her neck and following hospital tests, was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
Within weeks, she had undergone an operation to remove her thyroid gland and was prescribed a course of radioactive iodine treatment.
“The treatment lasted about a week, but because of the radiation I wasn’t allowed to get close to my little boy,” she said. “I had to have minimum contact.”
Although diagnosed in June 2009, it was not until the following April that Jill was given the all-clear.
The part-time shop worker, who lives in Peterlee with husband Steven, 35, who works at Nissan in Washington, and son Max, two, visited medics after feeling something was wrong.
“I just had a funny feeling that there was something wrong,” she said. “I kept feeling my neck all of the time. I could feel a little ball.
“I asked my mum to see what she thought and she said exactly the same.
“I went to the doctor the next day to get it checked out.”
She is now the face of a campaign by the North-East-based charity the Butterfly Cancer Trust aimed at increasing awareness of the condition.
Thyroid cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers among women, yet few people are aware of its symptoms.
It is one of the rarer types of the disease, accounting for only one per cent of all cancer cases in England.
But each year there are an estimated 1,900 new diagnoses.
Women are two to three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men, while most cases are diagnosed among 30 to 50-year-olds.
And rates of reported instances of the illness have risen by about 50 per cent over the past 30 years, both in England and across the world.
The North-East-based Butterfly Cancer Trust has launched a major campaign to highlight the importance of getting any lumps in the neck checked out.
Thyroid cancer is now the fastest growing cancer in women in the UK.
But early detection can lead to a full recovery.
For more information, visit www.butterfly.org.uk or call (01207) 545469.