A new mum discovered she had breast cancer after struggling with breastfeeding her son on one side, which turned out to be the result of a tumour.

When UK mum Joanne Carr began breastfeeding her son Dougie, she was pleasantly surprised by how easily he took to it. After fourteen months, however, she noticed that he was beginning to have a few issues when it came to feeding from her right side and decided to investigate further.

An Unexpected Discovery

Dougie’s difficulty with feeding from her right breast sounded alarm bells for Joanne. “He fed on the other one fine,” she told Yahoo UK. “I thought I might have a blocked duct or something. It was very strange.”

After self-examining her breasts, Joanne was shocked to discover a lump on her left side. Following a visit to her doctor for tests, she was then faced with the reality of an invasive ductal cancer diagnosis, a possible explanation for Dougie’s change in feeding habits.

Leigh Anne O’Connor, a certified lactation consultant, told Business Insider that this isn’t the first case of a baby responding to the presence of breast cancer. “The research is not 100% clear but we believe that the taste of milk changes when there is a tumour present,” she said. “More specifically it’s possible, though not certain, that cancer cells can make milk’s typical salty-sweet flavour more bitter and unpleasant.”

Cause For Alarm?

It is worth noting that babies may experience a similar reaction to the presence of mastitis, which is common in the first three months of breastfeeding.

In Joanne’s case, however, she believes that if not for Dougie, she may never have discovered the potentially fatal tumour and received life-saving treatment. It is a belief that is shared by Leigh Anne O’Connor. “As terrible as breast cancer is, I find it amazing that the babies react this way,” she said. “Perhaps it’s Mother Nature’s way of protecting the future.”

Have you or someone that you know been diagnosed with breast cancer? How was it discovered? Share your story in the comments.

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  • Amazing that they were able to detect this.

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  • Lucky that!

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  • Amazing how it works

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  • Incredible that it was discovered this way. Such a terrible diagnose nevertheless.

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  • How horrible to have such a horrible diagnosis at what should be the happiest time of her life. Her bundle of joy may well be a miracle for saving her life

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  • An awful discovering , but glad she discovered it !

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  • Lucky she breastfed and found the lump. Very scary diagnosis whether found early or late. Best of luck to her.

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  • I am breastfeeding and don’t even bother doing self examinations because my breasts are almost always lumpy. My own fault for not changing out of my sports bra fast enough after the gym.

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  • Yes my sister in law last early last year was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she a 2 little ones too. She had noticed something wrong for a while and left it. By the time she was diagnosed she was straight into surgery and treatment. It was terrifying for the family.

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  • How lucky that she found out and could seek treatment in time.

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  • She is a very lucky lady!

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  • I know they often dismiss lumps when you have been breastfeeding. It took my cousin a long time to get the tests to diagnose her because it was brushed off as blocked ducts etc by Doctors.

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  • I know a lady who was diagnosed and fortunately survived.

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