'The amazing radioactive pills that cured my cancer': Girl, 17, makes a full recovery after discovering aggressive tumours in her neck
Paris Tompkins found a lump the size of a ping-pong ball
Diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer
Had to spend three weeks in isolation as the cancer-killing tablets made her sweat and urine radioactive
17:45 GMT, 5 October 2012
A teenager has beaten an aggressive form of cancer after doctors gave her radioactive medication.
Paris Tompkins, from Leicester, was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer after finding a lump in her neck.
The thyroid gland is found in the neck and sets the rate at which the body produces energy.
Radioactive: Paris Tompkins was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after finding two lumps in her neck. She took radioactive tablets to cure any remaining cancer cells remaining after surgery
Paris, who has a twin sister Paige, first realised something was wrong in February 2010.
She said: ‘When I first felt it, it was about the size of a ping-pong ball but it didn’t hurt.
‘I went to my GP and was told to come back in six months if it hadn’t changed.
‘All the blood tests I had came back normal.’
But within six weeks the lump had become little bigger and Paris knew something wasn’t right. She also developed a sore throat.
She saw a different GP at her practice and was referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she was eventually diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
This is the most common type of thyroid cancer; women and young people are most often affected.
Paris said: ‘It was a complete shock. I had expected the test to be normal and that I would be given some tablets.
‘No-one had brought up the word cancer and then, all of a sudden, I needed to meet an oncologist.’
In August 2010, she had surgery to remove her thyroid and doctors discovered there were actually two tumours.
To kill off any cancer cells that might have been left, she was given two courses of radioactive iodine tablets.
Early diagnosis: Paris has spoken of her experience to raise awareness of teenage cancer. Her twin sister Paige, right, now also has yearly scans to check for the condition
‘It effectively made me radioactive,’ said the 17-year-old, who has shared her story as part of Teenage Cancer Week, which aims to help young people know more about the signs and symptoms of cancer.
‘I had to be in a room by myself for a week in hospital and then a further three weeks in isolation at home.
‘I had to use a different bathroom to everyone else and people couldn’t sit next to me because of the radioactivity, but I was just glad I was able to have the treatment.’
While she is slowly getting better, Paris’s twin sister has to have annual scans to make sure she is not developing the same cancer.
Paris added: ‘I really didn’t know anything about cancer before this all happened and I want to help get more people aware of it.
‘Early detection is important to survival, which is another reason that awareness is so important.’
HOW RADIOACTIVE TABLETS KILL CANCER
Radioactive iodine is a targeted treatment to help find and kill any cancer cells that have spread.
The treatment takes place in hospital and is usually given as a drink or
The radioactive iodine circulates throughout the body in your
bloodstream. Thyroid cancer cells pick up the iodine wherever they are
in your body. The radiation in the iodine then kills the cancer cells.
Other body cells aren’t affected because only thyroid cells take up the iodine.
Patients must be kept in isolation as they will be slightly radioactive
for a few days; even sweat and urine will be radioactive during this