Pregnant Woman Found With Blocked Milk Duct, But It Was Cancer
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- Lindsey Gritton says she was misdiagnosed with a blocked milk duct when she was 34 weeks pregnant.
- After requesting an ultrasound, Gritton said she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
- She said she wants other young women to know the importance of advocating for themselves.
Lindsey Gritton said she was 34 weeks pregnant with her second daughter when she started experiencing a burning sensation in her right armpit and outside of her right breast in April. The burning would come and go, she said, but would last for about a week. Shortly after, the 29-year-old said she found a lump on the right side of her breast, the size of a small marble.
Gritton said the lump felt similar to the blocked milk duct she had with her first pregnancy, but this one was a little different because she couldn’t close it herself and the pain was constant. She made an appointment with her ob-gyn, who told her that it was likely a blocked milk duct causing mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, but Gritton said she still felt suspicious.
Gritton recalled her doctor saying: “I’ve seen this a thousand times. I have a lot of people who have this problem when they’re pregnant.”
“And I knew what a closed pipe felt like,” Gritton said. “And so in the back of my head, I knew it wasn’t.”
Gritton said she insisted on getting an ultrasound, even after her doctor told her she was too young to have cancer. “She didn’t even want to do an ultrasound, so I had to keep asking. I was like, ‘I really need to get an ultrasound because I’m really worried,”” she said.
Gritton said when she went in for her appointment a few days later, she knew by looking at the ultrasound technician’s face that something was wrong.
“She was walking on the little stick thing and she was looking in the mirror. They weren’t allowed to say anything, but I could tell by the look on her face that it wasn’t good,” she said.
She said her ultrasound results showed a high probability of cancer, and a biopsy a week later confirmed she had invasive ductal carcinoma. She said doctors told her the cancer had likely already spread because of the size of the tumor. They couldn’t know for sure, though, until they had a PET scan, which wasn’t possible while Gritton was pregnant because of the radioactive tracers used in the scans, which can expose unborn babies to radiation.
Gritton’s pregnancy was delivered a week later, she said, three weeks before his original due date. After giving birth, she said a PET scan confirmed she had stage 4 cancer that had spread to her liver. She started chemotherapy two weeks later.
Gritton is hopeful, despite his diagnosis
Gritton said she has been undergoing chemotherapy for four months and has treatments every three weeks. She said she feels lucky to be close to her husband’s family in Gainesville, Georgia, who babysit from time to time.
Gritton said she is hopeful that chemotherapy can eliminate most of the cancer. Her latest scan showed 80% gone, she said.
Advocating for herself saved her life
Gritton said she wants to let women know the importance of advocating for themselves when they are concerned about their health.
“If I hadn’t advocated for myself, I don’t even think I would be here today. Because of what they told me about my blood work and everything, my liver was already failing,” she said.
Young women should also get screened for breast cancer regularly, especially when they’re pregnant, she said.
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