Hertfordshire Woman Who Had ‘Four Breasts’ Due To Extra Breast Tissue Under Her Armpits Finally Gets Them Removed
A woman who developed two pouches of breast tissue under her armpits said her ‘extra boobs’ took over her life.
Because of her third and fourth boobs, which were separate from her 32GGs, 22-year-old Phoebe Ellis hid under baggy T-shirts and never allowed boyfriends to see her topless.
But despite the pouches leaving her feeling suicidal, she was refused NHS surgery for a decade because the work was considered ‘cosmetic’.
Phoebe, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, said:
I felt like a monster. I couldn’t even look at myself because I had these weird deformities.
I was so embarrassed and ashamed thinking I was a freak. I was scared in case anyone found out so hid beneath baggy T-shirts and jumpers. I was left traumatised by my own body.
Her sex life was hugely affected, with Phoebe, who works as a photographer and camera operator, never feeling comfortable getting intimate with boys.
The boyfriends I had would have no idea I had them. I would never ever show them. I could never feel comfortable with someone because I was ashamed of them thinking I was a freak.
I never felt sexy. I never felt wanted. I felt weird and gross. Even when getting intimate I would wear baggy tops.
She was also left too ashamed to go swimming or wear strappy tops.
When she was 12, Phoebe feared she had cancer when two tennis ball-sized lumps emerged under her left armpit.
Her GP told her they were nothing to worry about, but Phoebe spotted a similar growth under her right arm three years later.
Despite begging doctors to tell her what was wrong, Phoebe waited 10 years for a diagnosis.
I had no idea what these strange protrusions were – I just knew they hurt and shouldn’t be there.
I was living with my family in Estepona, Spain but flew home to see my doctor in the UK who had never seen anything like it.
I wasn’t given any tests and it wasn’t properly diagnosed, even though they were incredibly painful. It hurt every time my arms brushed against them and were excruciatingly sore and tender when I came on every month.
I went on the Pill and that stopped them hurting so much, but I didn’t know what I could do about them – or even what they were.
I had really big boobs so I thought it could be something to do with them, but I wasn’t sure.
Phoebe, who had already been refused surgery on the NHS, broke down to her GP about her ‘extra boobs’, and her GP then campaigned again for her to have surgery.
Unfortunately, Phoebe found out on the morning of her 21st birthday that she’d been refused again.
I read it [the letter] and burst into tears. I genuinely hated myself. I know women who have had breast reduction from the NHS.
Why is it easier to get a free nose job than being able to remove these mystery lumps that were making my life a misery?
It hurt that the medical profession didn’t seem to care.
In total, Phoebe was refused the operation four times before her family and friends scraped together £5,500 for her to have the surgery privately.
After the successful surgery, the lumps were sent to a lab for testing.
It wasn’t until January that Phoebe discovered she had accessory axillary breast tissue, a condition that affects between 2% and 6% of women.
This is where breast tissue and fat grows separately from your boobs, with its own ductal system. It can also cause extra nipples, although Phoebe didn’t have these.
Phoebe been left with scars under her arms but says she feels more feminine and confident since going under the knife. She’s also plucked up the courage to join a gym for the first time.
The 22-year-old said:
Anything would have been better than those extra breasts.
New Year’s Eve was the first time in 12 years I wore a top out. I still had stitches in and the scars were really bad.
But I didn’t care – I was relieved and felt a new wave of confidence. After so many years of hiding my body, I wanted to show it off.
Phoebe now wants to raise awareness of her rare condition to help other young women going through the same thing.
When I was young, I had nobody to look up to and no information. It was impossible to find anything so I thought I was a freak.
I want girls not to hide away in shame and to let it affect the rest of your life.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.