New mum dies after doctors mistook her breast cancer for pregnancy changes

New mum dies after doctors mistook her breast cancer for pregnancy changes

Her first summer as a mother, Heather found a lump in her breast. Terrified, she went to the doctors to have it examined.

The doctors dismissed it, telling her that it was just a clogged milk duct and to go home and take Tylenol.

Heather Zacek was having the time of her life: she was married to her longtime sweetheart Ryan and they had just given birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl Kilana.

“Heather was completely devoted to her husband and daughter,” Tina Black, heather’s mother, told BuzzFeed News. “She wanted to only spend her free time with them.”

But less than a year into the new chapter in her life, things began to shift and her euphoria did not last.

Her first summer as a mother, Heather found a lump in her breast. Terrified, she went to the doctors to have it examined.

The doctors, however, dismissed it.

“The doctor told her that it was a clogged milk duct and to go home and take Tylenol,” Tina said.

Heather took the doctor’s advice and took the Tylenol regularly, but by the time fall came she still felt ill, prompting her to visit the doctors once again.

“The doctor still brushed it off and told her, ‘You are young and healthy,’” Tina recalled. “But Heather took the word of her doctor and didn’t push the issue.”

According to the BuzzFeed report, Heather had developed a liver problem by taking too much Tylenol.

This time when she went to the doctors, they found something—stage 4 breast cancer.

It didn’t take much time for her disease to consume her; Heather died soon thereafter.

Common condition

As it turns out, cases such as Heather’s is not at all uncommon, says Dr. Sarah P. Cate of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We are seeing women younger and younger getting breast cancer.”

Heather’s case is every doctor’s worst nightmare, and doctors shouldn’t rule out the possibility of cancer until proper tests have been made, she also added.

“Pregnancy-associated breast cancers are very aggressive.”

Tina is sharing the story of her daughter so everyone could learn from them.

New mum dies after doctors mistook her breast cancer for pregnancy changes

Heather, Ryan, and Kilana; Photo credit: Tina Black

“My desire is that everyone realize that age and gender mean nothing,” Tina said. “If you find a lump, don’t let your doctor tell you it’s nothing without testing. Don’t put off any medical testing. To think that you have all the time in the world isn’t true.”

Early cancer signs include: lump in the breast—the most common first sign, a lump in the armpit (axilla), changes in breast shape or size, skin and nipple changes.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t hesitate to have yourself checked out by your doctor.

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