Susan Leeming found she had stage three breast cancer at 42, she was relieved she had no children after discovering her devastating news, until she found out exactly why the cancer cells developed.

Susan’s biopsy showed the cancer cells developed because she’d never been a mum.

She was told women who have babies have lower oestrogen levels while hers were abnormally high enough to trigger the disease, reports the Mirror.

Susan says: “I couldn’t believe it. To find my decision not to be a parent could have caused my cancer was unthinkable.”

Susan was told by her GP at age of 20 that her chances of being a mum were slim after years with no periods.

She married in 2000 then lost her mum a year later to breast cancer.

“The grief hit me hard and I found myself yearning for ­children,” she says.

Seven years later, she found a lump in her right breast and was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer.

She had a successful mastectomy and needed chemotherapy.

Her oncologist dropped the bombshell that she was oestrogen receptor positive, meaning the cancer was related to her hormone levels.

Her decision not to have children meant her ovaries had never taken a “rest” from producing oestrogen, sending her levels rocketing to more than five times the average level of 35.

“I crumbled,” says Susan, of Norwich. “I’ve never heard avoiding motherhood could cause cancer.

“I was horrified it was somehow my fault for not having kids or at least trying harder to conceive.

“But I would never have brought children into the world just to protect me from illness.”

“Having come through the other side of everything I feel strong and proud,” she says.

“Despite everything, I don’t regret my decision.

“At the end of the day, overcoming cancer made me the positive person I am today.

“I’m just lucky that my choice not to have kids didn’t end up ending me.”

Such a sad story. Susan has a very positive outlook though.

Share your comments below.

Image via The Mirror

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  • I am sorry to hear what she has been through.


  • There are many \”causes\” of cancer, not having children doesn\’t sound like a credible cause. Just someone looking for someone to blame for their circumstances. As other people have said, you can have children and breastfeed them and still get cancer. And her mother had breast cancer – a coincidence? Don\’t think so.
    This sounds like another scare story to me.


  • I know a lady who died as a result of breast cancer detected by a mammogram.
    It was in so deep that it couldn’t be detected by self examination, or by a medical professional. When she was diagnosed she was asked if she breastfed her babies. She had breast her 4 babies for a mininum of 12 months each.


  • I lost my sister in law to breast cancer and my best friend battled it not long ago…thankfully she won. My three daughters are high risk as my Mother in law and sister in law had the disease.


  • Thanks for sharing Susan ! Courage, strength and blessings to you when you fight this battle !!
    It is beautiful how you can say that overcoming cancer made you the positive person you are today and that you’re lucky that your choice not to have kids didn’t end up ending you !!
    Amen to that Susan !!


  • Thanks for sharing your story. I am 52, also without children. Three months ago mammogram showed a lump in my right breast, luckily wasn’t cancer. From now on, I know mammogram will never be easy thing to do. Wishing you all the best. Be positive.


  • I have heard of this before. It is true about abnormally high levels of certain hormones.


  • I have oestrogen positive breast cancer at 35, despite having three children, all breastfed, and no family history.

    Not having children increases the risk, not causes breast cancer.

    Some fact checking might be useful, thanks.


  • I didn’t realise not having children can lead to this,Sussan has a very positive outlook which you have to admire.


  • Interesting read and glad to see such positive attitude.


  • First news to my ears, and am glad I came across this. The more awareness the better i say. Thanks for sharing Susan, stay Strong & Blessed


  • So great that you still have a positive attitude – and you are fighting on.
    Of course, with your mother having had cancer too, it is possible that you didn’t pass this on to a child should you have had one – so maybe that’s another positive you can take from this trauma.


  • I always admire women who have come through breast cancer. I had four children and still got breast cancer, so it’s not always going to be the same deal for all. I am always thankful to God that I survived to see my children into adulthood and I hope to see grandchildren as well. It is not a pleasant experience or diagnosis, the pain, grief and loss impacts your life tremendously. I wish you strength, health and well-being dear lady.


  • I never knew not having kids could have any effect on the body.


  • I am glad you have recovered.


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