"I Was Lucky I Was Breastfeeding": A Woman Shares How Nursing Her Baby Helped Her Find Out She Was In A Horrifying Condition
How breastfeeding helped save Rebecca’s life
Rebecca Larter and her partner Andrew Llewellyn were overjoyed when they welcomed their daughter, Tavia, on August 30, 2013. The couple was enjoying parenthood, but six months after their baby girl was born, they received earth-shattering news: Rebecca had breast cancer, and it was very aggressive.
When Rebecca found a small lump close to her left nipple, she thought it was a blocked milk duct. But the lump felt hard, so the woman went to have it checked.
At first, doctors thought the new mom had mastitis (breast inflammation), which is quite common in breastfeeding women.
A few weeks later, the lump was still there, and Rebecca was sent for imaging tests and a biopsy. The tests confirmed that the lump was cancerous and that cancer has already progressed to stage 3.
When Rebecca heard the news, all she could think of was her baby daughter. She wanted Tavia to have a mom, so she underwent double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for maximum reduction of recurrence risk.
Although the grueling treatment sapped her energy, Rebecca continued to exercise during and after treatment, and that helped her recover faster.
Rebecca is in remission now, and she is simply grateful that her daughter has both parents.
Actually, Rebecca credits Tavia for saving her life. Speaking to The Sun, the mom said:
I was lucky I was breastfeeding. My little girl really saved my life. If I hadn’t breastfed her, I probably wouldn’t have found that lump.
The woman is involved with Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity aimed at helping cancer patients. She encourages other women to get checked:
I want to tell other women to make sure they check their breasts and know their bodies, too.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The most common symptom of breast cancer most women are familiar with is a lump or growth in the breast. Cancerous lumps tend to be solid and painless, but they may also be soft and painful.
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According to the American Cancer Society, other signs and symptoms of breast cancer include the following:
- Swelling in a breast.
- Skin irritation or dimpling (which may look like an orange peel).
- Breast or nipple pain.
- Nipple retraction.
- Nipple or breast skin changes, such as redness, thickening, and scaliness.
- Nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or around the collarbone.
- Sometimes, breast cancer doesn’t produce any clear signs and symptoms, and that highlights the importance of regular check-ups and screening tests.
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Check your breasts regularly for any suspicious changes and report any such changes to your doctor. Also, don’t skip your regular check-ups.
Breast cancer is highly curable if found early, so women should be on the lookout for any suspicious signs and symptoms to catch the disease in time.