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“I honestly thought the chances of having breast cancer before the age of 30 were pretty slim. I never thought it would happen while pregnant”
Hormonal changes to your boobs during pregnancy are very common and often perfectly normal, but Lizzi knew when she checked her boobs and found a lump that it wasn’t normal for her. After an initial appointment with her GP, Lizzi was told to monitor changes over a 4-week period.
“As time went on, waiting made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I wasn’t happy to wait four weeks, I had a noticeable lump, something I’d never had before. I had never experienced lumps in my previous pregnancies and actually my breasts hadn’t changed the way they normally would during pregnancy. Alarm bells were ringing.”
On gut instinct, Lizzi asked to be seen sooner. She had just turned 29, was 15 weeks pregnant and was told she had breast cancer.
At 20 weeks Lizzi had a single mastectomy which revealed the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system. At 27 weeks, she started chemotherapy. At 38 weeks, Lizzi was induced and gave birth to her baby girl Violet.
Lizzi had checked her boobs regularly after learning about CoppaFeel! in her early 20’s. Detecting the change to her chest the day she did was life saving. Because she regularly checked, Lizzi knew that the lump hadn’t been there long, and that it wasn’t normal for her. This month Lizzi finished her active treatment and received the all-clear. She is now looking forward to family life blooming, turning 30 and planning her wedding following a very recent engagement.
“Had I have not checked my boobs that day and known the importance of looking out for a change, I would never have gone to the doctors and persisted.”
Pregnant women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage so it’s important to continue routine checking throughout pregnancy. Around 200 women in the UK are diagnosed whilst pregnant every year.
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer whilst pregnant are 2x more likely to be diagnosed at stage 4 than women in the general population* so it’s incredibly important to continue to regularly check your boobs while you are pregnant and make your doctor aware of any changes.
If in doubt, always get it checked out.
Although many signs and symptoms of breast cancer are similar to pregnancy-related changes, it is important that they are still correctly diagnosed.
If you notice any changes or anything unusual whilst you are pregnant, it is important that you speak to your GP. Many women feel scared to have investigations while they are pregnant as they worry that the baby may be put at risk, however there is no harm in being referred to the breast clinic while you are pregnant. Ultrasound is the best tool for diagnosing symptoms in young breast tissue and is completely safe.
To find out more about breast cancer and pregnancy, click below to view our Midwives Information pack.
*Statistics from Public Health England Report – ‘Cancer Before, During and After Pregnancy’, National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, June 2018.
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