WHEN Lindsey Gritton discovered a small marble-sized lump on her breast, she knew something wasn’t right.
The 29-year-old was 34-weeks pregnant with her second child at the time and said it had felt similar to a clogged milk duct.
After initially being dismissed by the doctor, Lindsey is now fighting for her life and has been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.
At first, she had experienced a burning sensation in her right armpit and on the right of her breast, which started in April.
However, when she tried to unclog the milk duct, as she had with the previous one she had experienced in her first pregnancy, it didn’t work.
Milk ducts are the tubes that carry your breast milk from where it is made in the glandular tissue of your breast out to your nipple.
When Lindsey’s pain persisted, she decided to go to the doctors.
There, she was informed that it was down to a clogged milk duct which had caused mastitis.
This is an inflammation of the breast tissue, for which she was prescribed antibiotics for.
Even after her doctor told her she was ‘too young for cancer’, Lindsey insisted on receiving an ultrasound scan.
Speaking to Insider she said she knew from looking at the technician’s face that something was wrong.
“She kept going over it with her little wand thing, and she kept looking at the screen. They’re not allowed to say anything to you, but I could just tell by that look on her face that it just wasn’t good.”
The results indicated a high probability of cancer and a biopsy later confirmed this.
She was told she had an invasive ductal carcinoma – which is one of the most common types of breast cancer.
However, medics told her that the illness had probably already spread due to the size of the tumour.
But because she was pregnant, they weren’t able to find out for sure as they needed to do a PET scan.
This can’t be done during pregnancy as it can expose the unborn child to radiation.
The signs of breast cancer you need to know
According to Breast Cancer Now, the signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
- A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- A nipple change, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
- Rash or crusting around the nipple
- Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
- Changes in size or shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast or armpit – although this alone is not usually a sign of breast cancer, look out for persistent pain that’s there all the time
You should see a doctor if you notice any change to the breast
After Lindsey, who lives in Georgia, US, gave birth, it was confirmed she had stage 4 cancer and that the disease had spread to her liver.
She told Insider that she has been having chemotherapy for four months and has to have treatments every three weeks.
Now, she’s hopeful that the chemo will be able to eliminate the rest of the cancer, with recent scans showing that 80 per cent of it has gone.
Lindsey is now urging other women to advocate for themselves – especially when they are worried about their health.
She said that young women should be screened regularly for breast cancer – even when they are pregnant.
“If I wouldn’t have advocated for myself, I don’t even think I’d be here today.
“Because from what they told me with my blood work and everything, my liver was already failing,” she added.
In the UK breast cancer screening starts on the NHS when you are aged 50.
You will be invited every three years between the ages of 50 and 71.
Official guidance states: “If you’re a trans man, trans woman or are non-binary you may be invited automatically, or you may need to talk to your GP surgery or call the local breast screening service to ask for an appointment.”
Cancer types, signs and symptoms
Everything you need to know about different types of Cancer