A breast-feeding issue alerted a mother in Texas she may have breast cancer.
A few weeks after giving birth to her third child in 2012, Shakti Dalal noticed that something was odd about her baby's behavior while breast-feeding.
The newborn, Laila, did not want to breast-feed on one particular side of Dalal's body. “She was really fussy," the mother of three told Yahoo Parenting. "And she was only 2 months old, so it was pretty precocious of her to communicate to me that there was something wrong.”
Dalal tried to figure out what was wrong. “I was producing enough milk, so I knew that wasn’t the problem, but around the same time I started feeling a lump," Dalal said.
At the time, she figured the lump was a side effect of producing breast milk, such as a clogged milk duct. After running some tests, her doctor had devastating news: Dalal had stage 3 breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
Dalal, who describes herself as an "in-shape vegetarian," had no history of breast cancer in her family. “None of the risk factors applied to me at all," she told Yahoo Parenting.
"I thought it was somebody else's results," she told ABC 10 News.
Thanks to Laila, now 3 years old, Dalal has a new chance at life.
"My oncologist, Dr. Frankie Holmes, said that cancer cells probably produce a bitter taste, so when she was tasting the milk she probably didn't like the taste of it," she explained to ABC 10 News.
"She knew something was wrong," Dalal said. "She's my angel and she found the cancer."
According to Good Housekeeping, it is difficult to detect breast cancer through a mammogram when a woman is lactating. The baby's refusal to nurse helped Dalal decide to address her concerns with a physician.
She underwent several months of chemotherapy, radiation, a single mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries. By February 2013, she was cancer-free.
Dalal is now a stay-at-home mother who dedicates as much time as possible to her three children. She recently completed a triathlon to celebrate her good health.