A pregnant woman diagnosed with a blocked milk duct, but it was cancer.

  • Lindsey Gritton said 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 standing up 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 on the outside of her right breast in April. The burning came and went, he said, but persisted for about a week. Soon after, the 29-year-old said she discovered a lump on the outside of her right breast, the size of a small marble.

Gritton said the lump was similar to a blocked milk duct she had during her first pregnancy, but this one was a little different because she couldn’t unblock it herself and the pain was persistent. She made an appointment with her gynecologist, who told her it was likely a blocked milk duct causing mastitis, an inflammation of the breast tissue. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, but Gritton said she was still skeptical.

Gritton recalled her doctor saying, “I’ve seen it a thousand times. I have so many people with this problem when they’re pregnant.”

“And I just knew what a blocked duct feels like,” Gritton said. “And so in the back of my head, I knew it wasn’t that.”

Gritton said she insisted on getting an ultrasound, even after her doctor told her she was too young for cancer. “I didn’t even want to do an ultrasound. I had to keep asking for it. I said, ‘I really need to do an ultrasound because I’m so worried about this,'” she said.

Gritton said when she went to her appointment a few days later, she knew by looking at the sonographer’s face that something was wrong.

“She kept going over it with her little wand and looking at the screen. They’re not allowed to tell you anything, but with that look on her face I knew she wasn’t right,” she said.

She said the ultrasound results indicated a high likelihood of cancer, and a biopsy a week later confirmed she had invasive ductal carcinoma. He said doctors told him 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 scan, which can expose unborn children to radiation.

Gritton’s pregnancy was induced a week later, she said, three weeks before her original due date. After giving birth, she said a PET scan confirmed she had stage 4 cancer that had spread to her liver. He started chemotherapy two weeks later.

Gritton is hopeful, despite her diagnosis

Gritton said she has been undergoing chemotherapy for four months and is going for treatments every three weeks. She said she feels fortunate to live near her husband’s family in Gainesville, Georgia, who babysits from time to time.

Lindsey Gritton

Gritton began her chemo treatment in May 2022

Lindsey Gritton

Gritton said she is hopeful that chemotherapy can clear most of her cancer. His most recent scans showed 80 percent gone, he said.

Standing up for herself saved her life

Gritton said she wants women to know the importance of standing up for themselves when they’re concerned about their health.

“If I hadn’t stood up for myself, I don’t even think I’d be here today. Because from what they told me with the blood test and everything, my liver was already failing,” she said.

She said young women should also be screened for breast cancer regularly, especially when pregnant.

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