Family

Breastfed son 'detected mum's cancer' when he wouldn't feed

A mum from the UK has told the remarkable story of how her son helped raise the alarm for her having breast cancer.

BBC story
BBC story

A mum from Staffordshire, England, has claimed her baby son helped to spot her breast cancer, after he consistently refused to feed from the affected breast.

Sarah Boyle, who is just 26, says that at six months, her son Teddy “became very distressed” when she tried to feed him from her right breast.

His continued aversion to the breast meant that when doctors diagnosed Sarah with a benign cyst, she insisted it be rescanned.

She is now being treated for grade two triple negative breast cancer.

Sarah said that her son had taken “fantastically well” to breastfeeding until suddenly turning against her right boob six months in.

After trying various positions over several weeks, Sarah came to the conclusion that the milk from that breast must taste different.

"He became very unhappy and even hit out. For an eight-month baby to push his mother away was really heartbreaking," she said.

Sarah was diagnosed with a benign cyst in her right breast in 2013, and when she asked for a rescan was told not to worry.

But when Teddy’s behaviour persisted, and Sarah noticed changes in her breast like the shape and rigidity, she went back to her doctor.

A further scan and biopsy confirmed cancer.

Now halfway through chemotherapy, Sarah says that while no-one can prove it was Teddy who detected her cancer, if it wasn’t for his reactions she probably wouldn’t have been so persistent with doctors.

There is no scientific proof that babies who are being fed by the breast can detect breast changes, though there are other anecdotal examples of this occurring.

This story first appeared on BBC 5Live