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  1. ITV Report

'I prolonged my dying dad's life with my breast milk'

Credit: PA

A woman whose father was diagnosed with terminal cancer says giving him her breast milk to drink added an extra year to his life.

Helen Fitzsimmons, 40, expressed and froze her baby son's milk for her father Arthur, who was suffering from myeloma cancer and prostate cancer, The Mirror reported.

She even enlisted a breastfeeding friend to donate her milk too.

Fitzsimmons, from Cheltenham, had read numerous studies that found breast milk can boost the immune system and after speaking with her father, they decided it was worth trying.

The 73-year-old began drinking 2fl. oz of breast milk a day and Fitzsimmons said that almost immediately his protein levels stopped rising.

A woman whose dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer says giving him breast milk to drink prolonged his life Credit: PA

She says that when her father added an extra 1fl. oz donated by her friends, his protein levels actually began to decrease.

There's nothing to suggest that anything else other than the breast milk caused this to happen.

In fact, when he later dropped to having just half an ounce of breast milk a day the levels raised again.

– Helen Fitzsimmons

Her dad died in Easter last year, 16 months after first drinking the breast milk.

Despite the sceptical attitude of doctors, the mother of two believes that the milk added an extra 12 months to his life.

Of course we can't prove it medically but it gave him hope - and hope is so important in battling cancer.

– Helen Fitzsimmons

Fitzsimmons says that the method "may all seem a bit odd to others" but says it was a "privilege" to offer her dad hope.

"My hope now is that one day doctors embrace alternative therapies and treat them with the legitimacy they deserve," she added.

Breast milk in science:

  • In January 2016 UK scientists discovered an antibiotic developed from human breast milk that could kill drug-resistant bacteria
  • In 1995 a study in Sweden found that a protein in breast milk appeared to destroy cancer cells
  • In 2004 another Swedish study found a compound in breast milk destroyed skin warts triggered by the human papiloma virus and suggested it could be relevant to the treatment of cervical cancer