A KIDDERMINSTER amateur showjumper who discovered she had breast cancer months after finding a lump is urging women to carry out regular health checks.

Mum-of-three Pam Whitman said she thought that she was too young to have the disease when she found a lump at the age of 42.

When, three months later, the lump was still there she decided to get it checked out – convinced it would be a harmless cyst.

But a mammogram and biopsy showed that Pam, who lives with husband Stuart and 13-year-old twins Megan and Jake, did have breast cancer.

Now aged 45 Pam, a keen amateur showjumper who competes at top events throughout Britain, is calling on all women to do regular breast checks and to act immediately if they find anything unusual.

She said: “I should have acted as soon as I noticed the lump as early diagnosis is crucial in your chances of a successful and less invasive treatment.

“I didn’t realise how many young women are diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought that it was after I reached 50 that I really had to start being more conscientious about breast care.

“Now I’m telling women to check themselves regularly whatever their age!”

Pam, who at the time was a consultant head teacher in the Worcestershire area, met Consultant Breast Surgeon Michelle Mullan at BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham.

Ms Mullan carried out a mastectomy operation that was then followed by a course of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy under the guidance of consultant oncologist Dr David Spooner.

Once the radiotherapy was completed and Dr Spooner was confident that all cancerous tissues had been cleared, Pam was told she could go ahead with breast replacement surgery.

Pam said: “I realise now that earlier detection could have meant I would have got away with a lumpectomy or may not have required radiotherapy, in which case I might have been able to have an immediate breast reconstruction.

“Whilst immediate reconstruction is ideal, to be honest I was just glad to be alive and blessed to have such skilled people treating me.

“My treatment throughout was excellent and I was really helped by breast care nurse Elaine Kirkham during all my time at Priory Hospital.”

Pam is also delighted with the result of her breast reconstruction, carried out by consultant plastic surgeon Ruth Waters.

She added: “I can once again wear lower-cut tops if I choose to - my new breast is fabulous in fact they look better than before. I am fortunate to be happy, confident and back to enjoying life to the full.”

And she is also back in the saddle – taking part in competitions around the country with twins Jake and Megan also following in her footsteps.

“They represent our area in the Junior Academy squad and were placed at the nationals this year as well as at the prestigious British show jumping scope festival in August. My family, friends and my horses really did keep me going throughout my illness.

“All I hope now is that my story convinces other women to take breast health seriously and carry out regular self-examinations – it really can be a case of your life is in your own hands.”