Radioactive sisters out of danger after weeks in isolation
TWO sisters who battled cancer just months apart are in remission after being kept isolated for weeks as they turned radioactive.
Dee Paul, aged 27, and her younger sister Kiran Sangha, 24, were both diagnosed with thyroid cancer after finding lumps on their necks.
Both were given radioactive iodine treatment and were kept in isolation for weeks.
And young mum Dee had to be kept apart from her one- year- old daughter in a period which she describes as the ‘ longest days of my life’.
Dee, from Castle Bromwich, first discovered a lump on her neck when she was pregnant with daughter Dhiya.
When the swelling hadn’t gone down after her baby was born, she went to see her GP.
Part of Dee’s thyroid was removed as a precaution at Heartlands Hospital, but tests showed the tissue was cancerous.
More surgery followed and, more than a year since she first noticed the lump, Dee began treatment with radioactive iodine – a process that meant little Dhiya and husband Jatinder could not go near her.
“Basically, I was radioactive so Dhiya had to go and stay with my mum,” explains Dee.
“It was really distressing – I just cried all the way to the hospital.
“For the first two days I was in total isolation.
“The nurses just pushed a plate of food through the door because I couldn’t have any human contact.
“They were the longest days of my life.”
Dee began feeling better and was looking forward to her brother’s wedding when Kiran, then aged 22, began to feel unwell.
Kiran had also developed a lump in her neck and felt so ill at the wedding that she went to the GP immediately afterwards.
She was sent straight to hospital where she had a biopsy.
“The doctor didn’t tell me I had cancer, he just said, ‘ You’ve got the same as your sister’,’” said Kiran.
“My head was spinning. They offered me tissues but I couldn’t cry, I just kept thinking ‘ How am I going to tell my mum and dad?
“How can this be happening again?’”
Kiran, who lives in Penkridge with her parents, said the second diagnosis hit the whole family extremely hard.
Both cancers were different types, so medics explained that the fact they were both diagnosed was not genetic but just a cruel coincidence.
Dee added: “I tried to make light of it – Kiran always wanted to be like me and here she was copying me again!
“But it was a huge shock to us all, particularly our parents.”
Kiran underwent the iodine isolation treatment, as well as surgery to remove her whole thyroid and some of her lymph nodes, at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton.
Luckily, both sisters were diagnosed early enough for their cancer to be treated effectively and scans show Dee and Kiran are now in remission.
Kiran added: “My big sister really helped me through my treatment because she knew exactly what I was going through.
“We consider ourselves really lucky to have survived and we are so glad to kiss cancer goodbye.”
Now the sisters are backing Stand Up To Cancer, an annual fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4.
Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £ 38 million to fund over 40 clinical trials and research projects.
Kiran said: “Research saves lives and we want everyone to know it.
“That’s why we’re giving our heartfelt support to Stand Up To Cancer,” she added.
“It raises money to speed up more effective treatments for people, like us, who really need it.”
For more information or to request a fundraising pack visit www. standuptocancer. org. uk
Sisters Kiran Sangha and Dee Paul are now in remission. Left, Dee in hospital