‘I’m a professional model with one breast and turned down an NHS boob job’

Rebecca Butcher models for national brands including Dove and also raises awareness for her condition called Poland syndrome at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
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A woman born with a rare condition which means she only has ‘one breast’ turned down a free NHS boob job and is now a model. 

Rebecca Butcher, 26, was offered the chance to have a breast implant when she was just 16 - so both her breasts could be the same size.

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She turned down the surgery and instead chooses to celebrate her difference. Her right breast is a DD size cup, while her left is an A cup. Her condition – Poland syndrome - is a birth defect which causes an underdeveloped chest muscle on one side of the body and affects around one in 20,000 people. 

Rebecca was officially diagnosed with it aged 20 after she had an ultrasound scan to look at her chest muscle but had been convinced of her condition since she was 16. Rebecca now works full time doing glamorous modelling shoots - including a recent one for Dove - alongside her advocacy work.   

She is also an ambassador for PIP UK, a charity which supports people with the condition. Their work has helped set up a clinic for Poland syndrome which opens four days a year at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – but they are hoping to get more funding for a full-time clinic. The condition is more prevalent in men with TV presenter Jeremy Beadle and F1 driver Fernando Alonso both suffering from it. 

Model Rebecca butcher has Poland syndromeModel Rebecca butcher has Poland syndrome
Model Rebecca butcher has Poland syndrome

Rebecca, from Barnsley, South Yorks., said: “I just didn’t feel like I needed a boob job and have no regrets. I’m happy doing my modelling and advocacy work and helping other women to feel good about themselves. Lots of women have complications with it, I just didn’t want to take the risk and some implants aren’t forever.”  

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While she was going through puberty, Rebecca noticed that everyone around her was developing an even chest - while she was only developing one boob. She said: "I asked my doctor for help but they told me that my chest was 'normal' and 'would grow eventually' - like how some girls get their periods later than others." 

Rebecca kept going back and forth to the doctors but she says she was continually told the same thing – that her breasts would even out and grow.  It was only when she did a deep dive on the internet that she came across Poland syndrome - which she then suggested to doctors could be the cause. 

She was offered the choice of having a boob job on the smaller breast – an A cup - or having her larger breast – a DD cup - reduced in size.  Rebecca said: "I know most girls would jump at the chance of a free boob job but I didn’t want to change myself - I just wanted to know why my chest was deformed. 

"For years I felt lost, alone and confused but now that I knew what Poland syndrome was, it was like I finally had an instruction manual for myself. I could understand why I am the way that I am." 

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Rebecca says she has been heavily sexualised by men when discussing her condition online. “I usually just block and ignore them," she said.  “It doesn't bother me too much because it's happened that many times now that I've just got used to it. But, obviously, as women we shouldn't have to get used to it." 

In March she did a catwalk fashion show alongside other women who have Poland syndrome for PIP UK charity. “We are all getting bespoke dresses that fit around our chest to wear, it’s a beautiful thing, and I'm glad we are working to end the stigma," Rebecca said. 

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