A young mum has revealed how her baby boy helped detect her cancer.
Sarah Boyle, 26, a call centre worker, tells how Teddy, now one, would ‘scream’ and become distressed when she tried to breastfeed him from her right breast.
A little worried, she went to her GP and was referred to hospital where she underwent a scan and a biopsy.
Two weeks later she was diagnosed with grade 2 triple negative breast cancer.
The new mum, who lives with her husband Steven Boyle, 28, a recruitment consultant from Staffordshire, is now receiving chemotherapy and is planning a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
She said: ‘Teddy is my hero – if it hadn’t been for him I would never have suspected I had cancer. My consultant told me that breastfeeding helps a mother and baby bond. In my case it did more than that – it saved my life.’
‘Teddy could obviously smell and taste that the milk from my right breast tasted different from the milk from my left breast.’
Adding: ‘My consultant said he’d never seen anything like it before and was baffled and amazed. He told me it was very fortunate I chose to breastfeed – otherwise my illness may not have been discovered.’
Sarah first noticed a lump in her right breast in January 2013, but when she went to her GP she was told it was cyst and not to worry.
Over the course of four years, she had the cyst scanned five times as it fluctuated in size but was told it was hormonal and not malignant, so Sarah put her fears aside and carried on with her life.
In May 2015, she fell pregnant with her first child Teddy, who was born in February 2016, Teddy arrived weighing 7lb 15 ounces, and was a healthy and happy baby.
After around five months of breastfeeding, Sarah noticed her right breast wasn’t ‘working’ as well as the other and it appeared a little smaller.
She contacted her health care assistant but was told it was ‘common’ and nothing to be concerned about.
But a month later, when Teddy was six months old, he stopped feeding altogether from her right breast.
She returned to her GP and asked if it was to do with the cyst, but was told it was fine.
As the weeks rolled into months, Sarah tried her best to get Teddy to feed from her right breast but he wouldn’t budge.
‘He just wasn’t having it, even if I gave him a cuddle on that side he didn’t like it.’
When Teddy was eight months old, Sarah went back to her GP and asked to be referred for a scan.
In November 2016, Sarah underwent an ultrasound scan at Royal Stoke University Hospital, she recalls: ‘I’d just finished the scan and a consultant came in and said there was an area within the cyst which looked suspicious and I would need to undergo a biopsy.’
Two weeks later, Sarah was diagnosed with grade 2 triple negative cancer – a non hormonal cancer which is extremely rare in young women.
The cancer inside the cyst had been growing for three months – exactly the same time Teddy stopped feeding from her breast.
The day Sarah was diagnosed she was told to immediately stop breastfeeding so they could start chemotherapy. She’s now around half way through her treatment,
After, she is planning a double mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction surgery.
She said: ‘I want other women to be aware of any lumps in their breasts and to always get them checked out.’