Mum’s “blocked milk duct” diagnosed as breast cancer

Case of blocked milk duct
Just eight days before she gave birth to her little girl, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Source:Supplied

“Blocked milk duct” diagnosed as hormone-receptive breast cancer

While breastfeeding, lumps in the breast are fairly common. The lumps aren’t usually serious and go away without treatment. Although, they can be quite challenging and painful. The lumps can either be mastitis, engorged breasts or a blocked milk duct. The good news is that these lumps respond well to treatment. Most times breast lumps are nothing to worry about. But, other changes in breasts may signal a more serious problem not associated with breast feeding.

In a similar case, a 33-year-old mum, Brega van Vugt, who was just a few days away from giving birth noticed a lump in her left breast. Although she assumed it was just a common discomfort of pregnancy, she decided to get it checked when it didn’t go away after a few days. Ms Vugt even spoke to a midwife about it who assured her that it was just a block milk duct and that she should massage it to ease the discomfort. But when she didn’t do anything she decided to get it checked.

Doctors performed several tests and diagnosed her breast cancer.

Ms Vugt was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 39th week of pregnancy. The lump was more than just a blocked milk duct. Doctors diagnosed her with a hormone receptive breast cancer which is a type of cancer powered by estrogen. “I just assumed it was my milk coming through as I couldn’t feel anything else,” said Ms Vugt. Doctors performed several tests including an ultrasound and diagnosed her with a tumour. She was then advised a biopsy and referred to an oncologist. “It was the first sign something was wrong and then I had a biopsy before being referred to an oncologist,” said Ms Vugt.

When the doctors told her she had breast cancer, she felt extremely unprepared both mentally and physically. She she felt winded. “I was completely shocked. If I didn’t have a baby coming within a week the treatment would have been straightforward, but that complicated things a lot,” said Ms Vugt.

On March 11th, Ms Vugt and her partner welcomed their baby girl.

Doctors advised her against breastfeeding because of the type of cancer she had. Treatment included less intensive chemotherapy to make it easier for her to adjust as a new mum. She is currently on her 12th round of chemotherapy. According to the doctors, she will be put on a stronger treatment after her 12th cycle.

The new mum encourages other mothers-to-be to get in touch with their bodies and get anything they notice different checked immediately. She further added that early detection is the “best weapon”.

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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