Friday, July 27, 2007

WhyMommy on Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I am stealing the post below from WhyMommy over at Toddler Planet, she was recently diagnosed with Inflammatory Breat Cancer and is working to get the word out about this fast spreading breast cancer that is often misdiagnosed. I also know a woman IRL who has been fighting the same beast. Please read on, "steal" this post and put it up for your readers to see, and join Team WhyMommy.

From WhyMommy....
We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.
Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.
Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the few patients who did have a lump. I had all the other symptoms for about 3-4 months and then on the evening of July 30th,2007, I felt the lump. Biopsy confirmed IBC. I was lucky, it was still localized and the infliceted nymphnodes were all close to the tumor and in the brest. In 56 days, it grew from 2cm to 6 cm and I became stage IIIB. Very aggresive Chemo made the tumor shrink and the lymph nodes go back to normal. I'm still working on my survival, chemo is not done yet and in a few months I'll have surgery, total mastectomy and radiation. I promised myself I will be one of the 40% and I will survive much longer than 5 years.
Never mind the age recommendation about mammograms and other tests. As soon as a woman has breasts, she needs to start testing. IBC strikes mostly younger women who leave behind a family with small children - now that's sad! I also want the Cncer Society to quite their harping on a bout family history. I never had any and felt I was immune to get cancer because of it. Well, there is a higher percentage of women who get breast cancer without a family history than the ones with it. This Misinformation and resulting death, I place squarely at the door step of the Cancer society and I really don't want anything to do with them. Maybe, when they work towards saving EVERY woman's life, I might reconsider.