Mother reveals blocked milk duct turned out to be aggressive form of breast cancer’

A mother-of-two whose blocked milk duct turned out to be aggressive form of breast cancer says watching an episode of Loose Women promoting ITV’s ‘Change and Check’ campaign ‘saved her life’. 

The campaign, which launched last summer to show women how to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, was championed by Lorraine producer Helen Addis, 40, Weybridge, Surrey who was diagnosed aged 39.

After seeing Helen appear on Loose Women, mum-of-two Rebecca Wood, London, who is in her late 30s, discovered what she thought was a blocked milk duct on her breast, but decided to visit her GP to double check. 

She was diagnosed with ‘an extremely aggressive, high grade form’ of cancer which was growing rapidly inside her, and had to undergo a full mastectomy and reconstruction.  

Mum-of-two Rebecca Wood, London, who is in her late 30s, discovered what she thought was a blocked milk duct on her breast, but decided to visit her GP to double check after seeing Helen on the show

Lorraine producer Helen Addis, 40, from Weybridge, Surrey is pictured on Loose Women last year promoting the 'Change and Check' campaign, which encourages women to check their breasts for abnormalities after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39

Lorraine producer Helen Addis, 40, from Weybridge, Surrey is pictured on Loose Women last year promoting the ‘Change and Check’ campaign, which encourages women to check their breasts for abnormalities after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39

Appearing on the show today, Rebecca said: ‘I was watching the show last summer, I was breastfeeding my daughter at the time and listening to Helen’s story. [It] really resonated with me, she was 39, she was fit and healthy, there was no history of cancer.’ 

Rebecca told she would ‘always check herself’ before having her daughter, but became ‘complacent’ when she started breast feeding. 

After watching the show she I found what she thought was a blocked milk duct – but decided to have the lump checked out by a doctor because it wasn’t painful. 

‘The doctor said “I think it’s to do with breast feeding, but let’s send you for a scan just in case”,’ she recalled. ‘I remember lying on the bed and pleading with the lady to tell me it’s going to be okay. 

The campaign, which launched last summer to show women how to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, was also championed by Lorraine Kelly (pictured right), a friend of Helen's

The campaign, which launched last summer to show women how to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, was also championed by Lorraine Kelly (pictured right), a friend of Helen’s 

‘She said I can’t, I need to do a biopsy and send it off and effectively I was told after an agonising wait it was breast cancer, but thankfully I spotted it really early.’  

The cancer had spread from Rebecca’s milk duct to the rest of her breast, meaning she still had to have a full mastectomy and reconstruction. 

Rebecca told: ‘It was an extremely aggressive, high grade form, growing very rapidly inside of me. I was just in absolute shock. I was low risk as far as I was concerned.’

‘I had no history in my family. I was very healthy and quite frankly, if I hadn’t been watching the show, I don’t know when I next would have checked my breasts, because I thought I was doing the best for my baby or my body.

Mother-of-three Helen campaigned for posters and stickers showing what signs to look out for to be put in hundreds of changing rooms nationwide

Mother-of-three Helen campaigned for posters and stickers showing what signs to look out for to be put in hundreds of changing rooms nationwide

‘Effectively, Helen, watching you, it did save my life. I hate to think what would have happened.’

Fortunately, Rebecca is doing ‘really well’ after the diagnosis, finishing her chemo in January and she is not expected to have any further treatment after finishing her last round of injections. 

‘I’m fine now, thank you,’ said Rebecca. ‘I’ve had an excellent prognosis, I’ve had chemo which finished in January this year. 

‘I finish my injections in a couple of weeks and am expected not to have any further treatment after that, so really well.’  

Rebecca told she was diagnosed with 'an extremely aggressive, high grade form' of cancer which was growing rapidly inside her, having to undergo a full mastectomy and reconstruction

Rebecca told she was diagnosed with ‘an extremely aggressive, high grade form’ of cancer which was growing rapidly inside her, having to undergo a full mastectomy and reconstruction

Adapting during the pandemic, Helen has managed to brand a Change And Check' reminder on every piece of Royal Mail post in the UK from today until November 2

Adapting during the pandemic, Helen has managed to brand a Change And Check’ reminder on every piece of Royal Mail post in the UK from today until November 2

Mother-of-three Helen campaigned for posters and stickers showing what signs to look out for, to be put in hundreds of changing rooms nationwide, and launched the ‘Boob Bus’, which travelled the UK encouraging women to check themselves for signs of cancer. 

Adapting during the pandemic, Helen has managed to brand a Change And Check’ reminder on every piece of Royal Mail post in the UK from today until November 2.  

Speaking of the impact of the campaign, Helen went on: ‘I’m blown away and I just don’t think I’ll ever stop, it’s become a passion project of mine. 

‘Just hearing Rebecca’s story its case and point, since we launched this campaign I’ve had 37 women contact me to say they have found their cancer early and they were all under the screening age.’ 

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