A MUM has revealed how her one-year-old son discovered her cancer after refusing to feed from the breast which contained the tumour.
Joanne Carr, 37, started having trouble breastfeeding her son Dougie McInerney as he turned 14 months old – with the tot not wanting to feed from her right side.
The concerned mum checked her breast only to find a pea-sized lump in her milk duct, which medics later diagnosed as cancerous.
Joanne admits she never would have found the tumour without Dougie rejecting her breast – a sign that the duct was blocked or that her breast had changed shape.
Now cancer-free, the single mum-of-two from Liverpool has hailed her son as a ‘guardian angel’ who saved her life.
She said: “I owe my life to him. It was a complete miracle. If I didn’t have Dougie then I might never have found the lump.
“He saved my life, without a doubt. He’s a little angel. I’d be lost without him – now he gets away with murder and I spoil him rotten.”
Joanna, who works as a nurse, added: “The doctor said it’s very strange what Dougie did, but he must have known somehow. He was looking out for me.
“I know I wouldn’t have checked if it wasn’t for him [rejecting the breast]. It’s remarkable when you think about it.”
Dougie, 5, who was born in April 2014 at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, was Joanne’s final puzzle piece for her ‘perfect little family’, which also includes 11-year-old Isla.
Everything was normal with the youngsters feeding routine until June 2015 when Dougie, aged 14 months, changed his feeding habits at random.
“He wasn’t interested anymore and he refused to feed from the right breast,” Joanne explained. “I thought I might have a blocked duct or something.”
Joanne decided to check her breast for signs of any problems and found a small lump – immediately booking herself in to see the GP.
She was given antibiotics and told to come back if it didn’t go away – on her return, she was referred to specialists at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
She said: “I was really worried by this point. My gut feeling was that something wasn’t right and I started to think the lump wasn’t normal.”
Joanne was taken for scans and a cell biopsy which confirmed in just four days she had an aggressive form of breast cancer – invasive ductual cancer – which affects the milk ducts.
Medics weren’t sure as to why it stopped Dougie feeding, but Joanne believes the 2cm lump close to her nipple may have caused him discomfort when feeding.
“I was diagnosed there and then,” she continued. “They took me into a room and told me I had cancer. They said it was aggressive but treatable.
“I sat there and cried when I told my family. I was worried [my kids] would have to grow up without a mum. But I knew I had to stay strong for them.”
Joanne had eight rounds of chemotherapy which lasted until March last year, causing her to lose all of her hair.
But luckily, the lump continued to shrink and in March 2018, doctors were able to remove the residual cancer cells before giving her the all-clear in April.
“I still think about how lucky I am,” says Joanne, who is retraining to specialise in chemotherapy. “I owe my life to Dougie and he means the world to me.”
In other parenting news, a breastfeeding mum revealed her shock after her neighbour demanded she donates her milk.
While a mum shared her pride at breastfeeding her four-year-old son, but critics are calling her out for ‘child abuse’.
And this kind-hearted stranger wrote a heartfelt note to a mum after she sent her autistic son on a flight alone with a letter.