Woman's Blocked Milk Duct While Pregnant Was Actually Terminal Cancer

A woman who was told by doctors that she had a blocked milk duct has died from breast cancer at the age of 26.

Single mother Sophie Collins, from Maidstone in southeastern England, was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of the disease in December 2020 while pregnant with her second child. She passed away on January 19, 2022, her brother told The Sun.

Collins first noticed something was wrong in September 2020 when she noticed a lump at the top of her left breast.

She went to see a doctor about it but because she was so young and ten weeks pregnant with her second child, the doctor "dismissed" it as simply being a blocked milk duct, her brother, Matthew Collins, said.

But the lump continued to grow larger and the woman sought a second opinion. She was later referred to a breast specialist.

Eventually, she was diagnosed with stage three triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that accounts for around 15 percent of all breast cancers.

Breast cancer during pregnancy is rare, according to Cancer Research U.K. Research shows that the disease is reported in one in every 3,000 pregnancies. In most cases, the individuals are able to continue with their pregnancy.

Sophie Collins underwent surgery in January 2021 to have her left breast removed. But subsequent tests revealed that the cancer had spread to at least 14 nearby lymph nodes.

Collins received her first round of chemotherapy in March 2021, after having been assured that it wouldn't harm her unborn baby, who was born safely one month later.

A few days after the birth, scans revealed that the cancer had spread further, showing tumors in her collar bone. At this point, doctors told her that the cancer was incurable and terminal.

Despite receiving several rounds of intense chemotherapy over the following months—designed to slow the progression of the disease and give her more time—the cancer had spread to her spine, hips, back and chest.

"In September 2021, she finished her chemo, only to be told just three weeks later that the treatment hadn't worked," her brother told The Sun. "It was an awful blow for her, and for everyone who loved her.

"Our hearts are just breaking for Sophie's girls. They have been robbed of a mummy who would do anything for them. But they should be so proud her."

Her two daughters, aged three years old and eight months respectively, are now being cared for by their separate dads.

Matthew Collins described his sister as "inspirational," telling KentOnline: "She really has touched so many lives.

"Sophie had such a loving heart. She would give you her last £1. She had a strong fighting spirit. She took it all on the chin and carried on for her girls. And my God did she fight till her last breath."

A pregnant woman
Stock image showing a pregnant woman. A woman who was told by doctors that she had a blocked milk duct has died from from breast cancer at the age of 26. iStock