A pensioner from South Yorkshire has had surgery to remove a tumour the size of a football from her neck.
Joyce Haigh, aged 79, stunned medics with the two-kilo lump - the biggest ever reported in the UK to be taken from a patient’s face or neck.
Amazingly Joyce had suffered for more than 20 years before opting for surgery.
Now she has spoken for the first time about the operation, which took place last month.
She said: “It’s given me a new lease of life - I can go out now without worrying about people staring at me.
“I know I should have done something sooner, but I wasn’t in any pain and, I am ashamed to say, I was afraid to go to the doctors.
“Now I wouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor about anything, and would encourage people who may be experiencing health problems of any kind to get help right away. The people at the hospital are fantastic.”
Joyce, who lives in Thorne, Doncaster, finally took action last autumn.
“I could cope with it when it was small but over the years it just grew, and I suppose in the end I feared the worst,” she said. “But it wasn’t until it started to bleed that my husband George insisted I go to see a doctor.”
That was on October 13 last year and, shortly before Christmas, Joyce was referred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon Muhamad Quraishi.
“He showed me photos of the side view of the lump which I had not seen before - and it was at that point I realised just how bad it was,” she said.
“I was frightened of having the operation but actually everything was fine.
“They took two biopsies and, although I do need further treatment, I’m just so glad the lump has gone.
“I plan to get back to being normal again, buy some new clothes and enjoy life.”
Mr Quraishi, who removed the tumour in a five-hour operation, said: “In the whole of my 20-year medical career I can honestly say I have never seen or treated such a massive tumour.”