LIFESTYLE
22/10/2015 09:57 BST | Updated 22/10/2015 11:59 BST

Mum Whose Mastectomy Breastfeeding Photo Went Viral Speaks Out About Life With Cancer

A mother, whose emotional breastfeeding photographs went viral earlier this year, has spoken out about her experience of cancer.

Sarah Whitney, 31, was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer when she was 20 weeks pregnant. As a result, she was forced to start her first round of chemotherapy and undergo a mastectomy.

Thankfully, Whitney gave birth to a healthy baby boy despite battling cancer throughout her pregnancy.

At the birth of her third child, a photographer captured the precious moment Whitney's baby latched onto her single breast.

The powerful photographs resonated with mothers across the globe and, unsurprisingly, were shared thousands of times.

"I don't want to sleep because all I want to do is treasure every moment he is at the breast."

Posted by Gentle Birth Options, LLC on Thursday, April 23, 2015

The subject of the photographs Sarah Whitney remained anonymous while her photographs spread across the globe.

She has since revealed her identity and has spoken out about her cancer treatment and the fact she's been advised against having any more children.

Whitney told Today.com that she was "shocked" that the photos went viral.

"I think for different people, they mean different things — maybe it's the vulnerability, or maybe it's that any woman that's had a child knows you would do anything for them, or maybe it's seeing a mom breastfeed against all odds," she said.

The 31-year-old reflects fondly on the photographs, but says she was left "heartbroken" because her breastfeeding journey was cut short.

Just two weeks after her son was born, she underwent a new and stronger round of treatment for the cancer, which made her breast milk harmful to baby Kal-El.

She says she breastfed her first two children and loved it, and felt it was very important to do the same with her third child. But it wasn't to be.

"It is still, to this day, the hardest thing to deal with. Every day, it's a constant reminder when I'm feeding my son a bottle — that I can't breastfeed him," she added.

Her son is now six months old and, thanks to other women in her community, he is being fed donated breast milk.

SEE ALSO:

Photographer Captures Precious Moment Mum With Cancer Breastfeeds Newborn Baby (Despite Undergoing Mastectomy)

'My Implants Saved My Life': Mother Reveals How Boob Job Alerted Her To Breast Cancer

Liz Hurley: 'If There Was More Funding, We'd Find A Cure For Breast Cancer'

Claira Hermet, BBC Presenter, On Why She's Elected To Have A Double Mastectomy At 27

As for Whitney, she began chemotherapy and radiotherapy shortly after her son's birth. The devoted mum has now finished both treatments and is taking Herceptin to treat the cancer.

She will undergo another mastectomy to remove her remaining breast so the cancer doesn't spread, and will also take anti-hormone medication for the next 10 years.

Whitney, who is also mum to six-year-old Phoenix and 7-year-old Corah, has also been told the devastating news that she shouldn't have any more children because pregnancy can increase the chances of the cancer returning.

She said: "I have to accept it. I want to be here for the three children I have instead of risking it for a child that I don't have."

Breast Cancer Signs And Treatment