A mother discovered that a lump in her breast was cancer during pregnancy, six months after doctors said it was benign.
Michelle McClain, 39, from Winters, California, found the lump after seeing an advertisement on the Internet that encouraged women to check their breasts.
She visited her doctor in alarm, but tests showed that she had a fibroadenoma, a non-cancerous hump that is common in young women.
A gut feeling told Mrs. McClain that something was seriously wrong and six months later the wooden shoe had doubled.
The business owner was told that she did indeed have cancer, while she was 19 weeks pregnant with her fifth child and needed chemotherapy.
And she claims she was informed at the time that the lump might not even be a fibroadenoma.
Although safe, Mrs. McClain was terrified of what would happen to her unborn baby during chemo and she constantly poked her stomach to check if the baby was moving.
Dakota was born healthy, but three weeks early in May 2019. Mrs. McClain then received more chemotherapy and the mass was surgically removed.
Michelle McClain, 39, from Winters, California, pictured with her husband, Mike, discovered that a breast lump was cancer during pregnancy, six months after doctors said it was benign
Mrs. McClain started chemotherapy for her cancer while she was 19 weeks pregnant
Although safe, Mrs. McClain (left) was terrified of what would happen to her unborn baby, Dakota. She was born healthy in May 2019. Pictured, family after birth
Speaking of chemotherapy, she said: & I didn't want to lose my baby, I cried every time I thought about it.
& # 39; I was nervous about going through chemo. Although my oncologist said it was completely safe, I was worried.
& # 39; I would poke my stomach, shake it a little to feel her move. If she didn't move for a few hours, I would do it again. & # 39;
In June 2018, Ms. McClain browsed the computer when an advertisement about the importance of checking breasts for changes appeared.
She said, "I thought," what difference does it make, why not ", so I pressed my right breast and immediately felt a lump. I panicked because I didn't expect to feel anything.
& # 39; I met my doctor the next day, a mammogram and ultrasound were ordered immediately. When the results came back, it said I had fibroadenoma. & # 39;
Fibroadenomas are solid, non-cancerous nodules. According to WedMd, about 10 percent of women have one, often without ever knowing it, usually under the age of 35.
Over time, a fibroadenoma can become larger or even shrink and disappear. They can get bigger during pregnancy due to fluctuations in the hormone estrogen.
There is a slight increase in the risk of cancer with a & # 39; complex fibroadenoma & # 39; that has certain characteristics. About 15 percent of fibroadenomas are complex.
Mrs. McClain felt uncomfortable because her feeling told her that the bulge was more serious, but she was told to come back for a follow-up within six months.
In December 2018, Mrs. McClain, who is married to Mike, was pregnant when her breast was re-examined.
She claims that she had been informed that the clog had doubled in size and might not be a fibroadenoma at all.
Mrs. McClain found a bump in her chest in June 2018. She immediately saw her doctor and tests showed that the bump was benign. In the photo, Mrs. McClain has chemotherapy
A gut feeling told Mrs. McClain that something was seriously wrong, and six months later, while pregnant (photo) the lump had doubled in size
Ms. McClain said about her diagnosis: & I could only think of my family. I have young children and one on the road. & # 39; Pictured with her family – Mike, Audrey, 16, Natalie, 14, Dylan, nine and Mieka, six
WHAT IS A FIBROADENOMA?
Fibroadenoma is the most common type of benign breast tumor and does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
Although women of any age can develop fibroadenomas, they usually occur in younger, premenopausal women.
A fibroadenoma usually has a well-defined round or oval shape and feels rubbery and painless. When you touch it, it's easy to move under the skin instead of getting stuck in one place.
Over time, a fibroadenoma can become larger or even shrink and disappear. The average fibroadenoma is everywhere, from the size of a marble to a diameter of 2.5 centimeters. If it becomes 5 cm or larger, it is called a giant fibroadenoma.
If you are 30 or older, your doctor may recommend a needle biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Most fibroadenomas are not associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer. However, there appears to be a slight increase in risk with a & # 39; complex fibroadenoma & # 39; to be.
About 15 percent of fibroadenomas are categorized as complex.
At that time she was sure she had cancer, but she had to wait until it was confirmed by a biopsy.
She said: & # 39; When I read the radiologist's report in December, I knew I had cancer.
& # 39; I was completely numb. I didn't know if I had to cry or scream or both, but I didn't know because cancer had not yet been confirmed. & # 39;
On January 15, 2019, Ms. McClain received the devastating news that she had stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma – starting in the milk ducts – triple positive breast cancer.
Approximately 270,000 American women and 55,200 British women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year, figures show.
According to Cancer.Net, breast cancer occurs in about one in 3000 women who are pregnant.
Mrs. McClain said: & # 39; That phone call was the worst day of my life. I was at work when I received the call. I broke right away, everyone was having lunch at the time so I was alone in the office.
& # 39; I left work and called my husband on the way home, he met me at home.
& # 39; I could only think of my family. I have young children and one on the road.
& # 39; What will happen to my unborn child? They needed me, I am too young to die, I was terrified because I had no knowledge or education about breast cancer. & # 39;
Mrs. McClain received four rounds of chemotherapy during her pregnancy, which she was told would be safe for her baby.
Four weeks after her last session, on May 6 this year, Ms. McClain gave birth three weeks early from Dakota, weighing 4lb 10oz.
Mrs. McClain was told that she had stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma triple positive breast cancer
Mrs. McClain received four rounds of chemotherapy during her pregnancy, which she was told would be safe for her baby. But she was constantly worried
The chemotherapy would shrink the tumor and stop its spread, so that Mrs. McClain could continue the pregnancy for 34 weeks. Pictured, Dakota after birth
The family was relieved when Dakota was born (soon shown below)
The family was relieved and positive that Mrs. McClain could fight her cancer directly, with 12 rounds of chemotherapy ahead of her.
Mrs. McClain was initially scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy on May 23, but a mammogram showed that her tumor had started to grow again.
Her surgery was canceled and she received a combination treatment of three drugs, administered intravenously, to block the hormones on which her cancer thrives.
A PET scan in August showed that there was no visible malignancy in her right breast and that her cancer had not spread to other parts of her body.
Mrs. McClain had a lumpectomy this month to remove the cancer from the breast.
But she will continue to receive her treatment infusion for up to three years until May next year and will use hormone blockers for at least five years.
Mrs. McClain said that her Mike and her other children, Audrey, 16, Natalie, 14, Dylan, nine and Mieka, six, have been her rock during her cancer fight.
She said: & Both my parents are no longer here, so my family is pretty close. They are immediately available when I need them for something.
Mrs. McClain (left) had a total of 16 chemotherapy treatments. She had a lumpectomy this month to remove the cancer from the breast. Pictured with her family
Mrs. McClain said: “Never think it can ever happen to you. It only takes a minute to take a self-exam. Please do it because cancer does not discriminate & # 39;
& # 39; My mother-in-law is also a great help. She keeps the two younger children busy so that I can rest.
& # 39; I have accepted that I have cancer which makes it easy to blow through everything. & # 39;
Since her diagnosis, Mrs. McClain encourages women to regularly check their breasts.
She shared her story on Facebook and Instagram after she had no knowledge of breast cancer before she was diagnosed.
Social media sharing has helped Mrs. McClain stay positive and hopes she can save a life by raising awareness.
She said: & # 39; I wanted to spread awareness and share my journey so that people could experience it with me. It is amazing how many people are actually unaware of everything that this cancer entails.
& # 39; It makes me happy to know that people are interested and ask questions. It helps me stay positive and optimistic. If I can save a life by sharing my story, why not.
& # 39; Never think it can ever happen to you. It only takes a minute to take a self-exam. Please do it because cancer does not discriminate.
& # 39; If something doesn't feel right, say so. It is important to be your lawyer. You know your body best. & # 39;
HOW TO CHECK YOUR BREASTS
What should you pay attention to?
- Changes in the skin texture, for example folds / dimples
This is why it is so important to feel your breasts AND look at you. Dimples in the skin and wrinkles can resemble orange peels
- Swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
It is important to check not only your breasts, but also your upper chest and armpit, as these areas also contain breast tissue
This is fluid that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it
- A sudden, unusual change in shape or form
Most women naturally have a boob larger than the others or experience that their breasts gradually change as they age.
Many changes are completely normal, but if you notice a sudden, unusual change in size or shape, have it checked
- Nipple inversion and changes in direction
All this means that your nipple is pulled into the boob or looks different than normal. This can be a change in position or form. That is why it is important to pay special attention to your nipple during your regular checks
- A rash or scab of the nipple or the surrounding area
There are many reasons why your skin may become irritated, especially if you are breastfeeding, but if you notice redness or rash on the skin and / or around the nipple or crust of the nipple, make sure you check it out with your doctor
What to feel
Some breasts are lumpy by nature and this can be completely normal. The key is to know how your breasts feel so you would notice if new lumps appear or if your breasts feel thicker in an area compared to the rest
- Constant, unusual pain in your chest or armpit
Some chest pain can be completely normal, especially around your period. But keep an eye out for inexplicable pain in your chest or armpit that is almost always there
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