Vital surgery saves Harrogate mum from cancer

Rebecca Procter.
Rebecca Procter.

A young Harrogate mum has thanked doctors who performed a ‘vital’ surgery on three of her internal organs and saved her from facing cancer.

When Rebecca Procter, 33, felt a pain in her side she thought it was probably just a pulled muscle from picking up her two-year-old daughter.

But after a number of tests, doctors found a precancerous tumour on her pancreas and Rebecca underwent major surgery on her pancreas, spleen, and gallbladder.

Rebecca 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.”

Rebecca was in surgery for six hours with a team of three surgeons due to the complexity of the procedure.

She was in hospital for eight days but was able to return home to spend Christmas with her family.

Christian Macutkiewicz, Consultant Pancreatico-Biliary & Laparoscopic Surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital, led the surgical team who performed Rebecca’s surgery.

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.”

But while Rebecca is making a healthy recovery from her operation, the aftermath is not without its downfalls.

Having had half her pancreas removed, Rebecca is at risk of developing diabetes and has had to make changes to her diet, including potentially giving up chocolate.

Rebecca said: “Like every woman, I love chocolate, however 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.”

But now Rebecca has thanked the surgeon who saved her from the condition which strikes fear in any heart.

She said: “Christian is a fantastic surgeon, he is supportive, reassuring and caring. I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me.”