A woman who was told she was a ‘late developer’ has revealed how she discovered she was actually born with a rare condition which meant that she only grew one breast.
Becca Butcher, 23, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, has Poland Syndrome, which means one breast is significantly smaller than the other – her right one is a D cup, while the left is an A cup.
She was cruelly teased at school due to her lopsided chest, with her classmates horribly telling her she would ‘never find love’ and that ‘no boy would ever want her’.
But Becca refused a free NHS boob job to enlarge her left breast to the size of her right one, because she now feels she doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’, revealing: ‘I didn’t want the boob job, I told doctors “I don’t want surgery, I want information about why I am the way I am. I don’t want to change it, I want to know how to live with it”.’
Becca Butcher, 23, (above) from Barnsley, has Poland Syndrome, which means one breast is significantly smaller than the other – her right one is a D cup while the left is an A cup
Poland syndrome is a birth defect characterised by an underdeveloped chest muscle and sometimes short, webbed fingers on one side of the body.
The condition is more prevalent in men, with famous sufferers including Jeremy Beadle and Fernando Alonso.
Becca is hoping that she can inspire other women to speak up about the rare condition, which is believed to affect between 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 100,000.
Speaking about first noticing the difference when she hit puberty, Becca said that she first thought there was ‘no point’ wearing a bra until her other breast had also grown.
Becca (above) was told she was a ‘late developer’ by doctors during puberty and was cruelly teased at school due to her chest, with her classmates telling her she would ‘never find love’
But Becca has refused a free boob job on the NHS because she said she doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’ and loves her body the way it is
Becca continued: ‘I noticed that one of my breasts was bigger and might have needed a bra, but I thought there was no point getting one until the other one has grown.
‘A friend said to me one: “You know one of your boobs is bigger than the other?”
‘Eventually I had to start wearing bras, but I bought bras that fit the smaller one and I wore smaller bras to try to push it back.’
WHAT IS POLAND SYNDROME?
Poland syndrome is a disorder in which affected individuals are born with missing or underdeveloped muscles on one side of the body, resulting in abnormalities that can affect the chest, shoulder, arm, and hand.
The extent and severity of the abnormalities vary among affected individuals.
People with Poland syndrome are typically missing part of one of the major chest muscles, called the pectoralis major. In most affected individuals, the missing part is the large section of the muscle that normally runs from the upper arm to the breastbone (sternum).
The abnormal pectoralis major muscle may cause the chest to appear concave. In some cases, additional muscles on the affected side of the torso, including muscles in the chest wall, side, and shoulder, may be missing or underdeveloped.
There may also be rib cage abnormalities, such as shortened ribs, and the ribs may be noticeable due to less fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat).
Breast and nipple abnormalities may also occur, and underarm (axillary) hair is sometimes sparse or abnormally placed. In most cases, the abnormalities in the chest area do not cause health problems or affect movement.
Becca said she repeatedly went to the doctors during her teenage years, but was constantly told not to worry as she had not yet finished puberty.
Her GP insisted her left breast would grow, but as her right breast shot through the cup sizes, she began to do her own research.
After scouring the internet, Becca came across the little-known condition.
She added: ‘I went to the doctors aged 15 or 16 and they said, “It’s just normal, don’t worry, it’s nothing to worry about, I was just a late developer and I had not finished puberty yet”.
‘I would go every six months or so and I thought I would wake up one day and magically have two boobs.
‘I searched online “one boob” online and it came up with Poland Syndrome.
‘It was mainly pictures of men as it is more common in men, but you could tell they had a difference in their chest.
‘I went back to the doctor and told them I had come across Poland Syndrome and he said he had never heard of it.’
Becca explained that because so few doctors have heard of the rare syndrome, it offen goes undiagnosed.
Becca began sharing her experiences online and has developed a community of other women suffering from the syndrome.
Many women have told her that they have lived with the condition all their lives, with many admitting they have never had a boyfriend as they were worried about showing their breasts to other people.
Becca explained: ‘I thought it was a man thing, so I didn’t talk to anybody about it.
‘One day at about 17 or 18 I had the thought in my head that there must be other young girls feeling like this. If I speak out about it, they will know they’re not the only one.
‘I made a YouTube video as I didn’t want other women to feel like they were the only one going through it.
‘Over the past couple of years I get a new message every week from people who have it or who have a kid who has it asking for advice.
‘A lot of women tell me they have never had a boyfriend because they are so scared of someone seeing their boobs.
‘I tell them the right person will love you for you. If somebody doesn’t love you for your boobs, they’re not the person for you. If they care more about your boobs than your feelings then they’re not nice people.’
Becca, who is a content creator, is also now in a loving relationship with her boyfriend Kyle Officer, who she said accepts for who she is.
Becca, who is a content creator, said she is in a loving relationship with her boyfriend Kyle Officer (both pictured), who she says accepts for who she is
She explained: ‘I was sent to the breast specialist at the hospital. They offered me a free boob job, but I said I didn’t want surgery.
‘What if the bigger boob is the problem and I’m supposed to have two smaller boobs?
‘None of them have said it’s fine, you can live with it. It’s like I’m broken and need fixing.’
Becca, who has been with her boyfriend Kyle for two years, added: ‘No guy has ever had a problem with it or been put off by it. In a way, it helps you filter out the bad people.
Becca (pictured) is hoping that she can inspire other women to speak up about the rare condition, which is believed to affect between 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 100,000
‘I tell men up front about it. I say I have a chest deformity that means the muscle underneath my chest wall didn’t develop properly at birth, that’s just how it is.’
Becca, who runs Instagram page beccabutcherx, believes that more awareness about the little-known condition would improve the lives of sufferers as it has affected her ‘mental health’.
She admitted that she has found ‘simple’ things, including buying clothes, to be challenging and said she used to cover up her condition when she was younger.
Becca continued: ‘Poland Syndrome doesn’t affect your physical health but it affects your mental health.
‘Simple things like buying clothes can be hard. You can see what clothes would look like on a girl with big boobs, a girl with small boobs, but you can’t see what it would look like on a girl with one of each.
‘When I was younger I used to wear turtlenecks and cover it up. But now I am happy and fine to wear what I want.
‘I have a WhatsApp group of more than 100 women now who message each other and support each other.
‘But it’s a bit of a vicious circle. People don’t go to the doctors with it, so the doctors don’t know what it is, so it doesn’t get diagnosed when they come across it.
‘That is what needs to change.’