When Rebecca Procter felt a pain in her side, she thought it was a pulled muscle from picking up her two-year-old daughter.
In fact she needed six hours of major surgery in December to remove a pre-cancerous tumour and other affected organs.
Rebecca, from Harrogate, said: “You hear the word cancer and it stops you in your tracks. I was told that this type of condition was rare in someone of my age. It usually happens to older people.”
The 33-year-old suffered a constant nagging pain and pressure under her ribs last June.
A blood test showed abnormalities and she was then referred to Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay for an Endoscopic Ultrasound Scan (EUS).
The centre is the only private hospital in West Yorkshire offering this test, which can be used to look for causes of upper abdominal pain which may be undetectable on standard scans.
It showed that Rebecca, who works for a bank in Leeds, had Mucinous Cystic Neoplasm of the pancreas, a cyst that has the potential to turn into cancer.
Christian Macutkiewicz, consultant pancreatico-biliary and laparoscopic surgeon at Spire Leeds, led the team which operated on Rebecca.
He said: “It’s a very rare condition and it was vital for Rebecca to have surgery to remove this tumour. She is a young lady with a young family. If it was not removed it could eventually turn into pancreatic cancer, and life expectancy could be dramatically reduced. Having the surgery has reduced the risk of it potentially turning into cancer and given her the opportunity to lead a normal life.”
Mucinous Cystic Neoplasm most commonly affect women but usually they are in their 40s or 50s.
The surgery took six hours and three surgeons were involved in performing the keyhole operation to remove the affected pancreas, spleen and the gallbladder.
Having half the pancreas removed results in a risk of developing diabetes, which means that Rebecca has had to change to her diet, including reducing sugar intake. She said: “It’s a small price to pay. I just want to get back to normal life as soon as possible and to put this behind me. I’m looking forward to being able to run around after my daughter Emily again.”