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Mum shares breast cancer warning after finding lump while breastfeeding baby

Jessica Parsons urges women to check their breasts after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 36. (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

A mother diagnosed breast cancer is now urging other women to check their breasts after discovering a cancerous lump while breastfeeding her baby.

Jessica Parsons, 36, from Bath, was told by doctors she had breast cancer in June after noticing an unusual lump while breastfeeding her seven-month-old daughter Ines.

Initially assuming it was just a blocked duct or some other pregnancy-related issue, the human resources worker was shocked to find out she had cancer, aged just 36.

Parsons had actually developed metaplastic squamous cell carcinoma, a rare form of breast cancer that accounts for less than 2% of breast cancer cases.

She now encourages women to regularly monitor for unusual lumps and changes in their breasts as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Read more: ‘Pregnancy saved my life’: Mum’s breast cancer discovered while pregnant

Parsons found a cancerous mass while breastfeeding her baby girl, pictured with her children.  (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

Parsons found a cancerous mass while breastfeeding her baby girl, pictured with her children. (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

“Finding out that I had cancer was a huge shock,” Parsons says. “Although I never considered myself untouchable, I was young, fit and led a healthy lifestyle.

“I had also breastfed my son Stanley, so I knew your breasts might change and feel a little different after pregnancy.

“At first I thought that [the lump] could be a clogged milk duct. But, after two days, I went to see my GP and was promptly referred to the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath.

“Once I started to accept the news, I felt determined to stay positive and take it one day at a time.”

Read more: The four most common types of cancer in the UK – signs and symptoms you need to know

While nearing the end of her six-cycle chemotherapy treatment at RUH, she will still have to undergo a mastectomy later this year.

After the operation, she will receive follow-up radiation treatment to hopefully make sure she is cancer free.

“The care I received at RUH was exceptional,” says Parsons.

“I feel like I can really trust the team looking after me, which makes a very difficult situation so much easier.”

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Since her diagnosis, Parsons, who was on maternity leave at the time, has been documenting her cancer treatment on Instagram @life_lemons_and_my_melons.

“I created my Instagram account to share updates on my condition, but also to let people know that it’s so important to know your body and check yourself regularly – and that includes men too,” she says. .

“It’s really rare to get breast cancer when you’re under 40, but I’m proof that it can happen.

“I know this might sound scary, because what if you find something? But it is better to know about it so that you can have it checked as soon as possible. »

Read more: Sarah Beeny, Olivia Newton-John and Celebrities Who Shared Their Breast Cancer Stories

Parsons is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer and will undergo a mastectomy later this year, pictured with her two children.  (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

Parsons is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer and will undergo a mastectomy later this year, pictured with her two children. (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

Commenting on the importance of knowing what is normal for your breasts, RUH Consultant Surgeon Jamie McIntosh says: “One in five breast cancers occurs in women before they reach menopause and we have seen the number of young women diagnosed increasing over the past 10 years. .

“That’s why it’s really important to be aware of any changes,” he continues. “This includes lumps but also, especially in young women, things like changes in skin texture, changes in the shape of the breasts or a feeling of thickening rather than a distinct lump.

“The good news is that there are incredible things happening in breast cancer research and treatment development, including many new treatments that specifically target a patient’s type of breast cancer.

“For many people, finding a lump doesn’t mean they have cancer, but if it does, our team is here to take care of you every step of the way.”

Read more: The different types of breast cancer as ‘Dear Deidre’ Sanders shares the diagnosis

Parsons first assumed that the mass was just a clogged conduit.  (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

Parsons first assumed that the mass was just a clogged conduit. (Jessica Parsons/SWNS)

How to check your breasts

The The NHS recommends look at your breasts and palpate each breast and each armpit down to the collarbone. This might be easier to do in the bath or shower, using soapy water to make the process a little easier.

Alternatively, you can look at yourself in the mirror, alternating between having your arms by your side and having them up.

Before checking, it’s important to remember that everyone’s breasts are different, whether you’re having your period (which can make them tender and lumpy), post-menopause (which can make them softer) or you’re have one bigger than the other.

The NHS breast screening program has produced a five-point plan, making it easier than ever to know what you’re looking for.

The five simple points are:

  • Know what is normal for you

  • Look at your breasts and feel them

  • Know what changes to look for

  • Report any changes without delay

  • Attend your routine screening if you are 50 or older

For more information and advice on how to examine your breasts, see the CoppaFeel! website.

Additional SWNS reports.