Tuesday, July 24, 2007

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

I'm plagerizing for the first time ever in my post today. But I have permission! You may already know WhyMommy at Toddler Planet. She has two beautiful little boys. She also has inflammatory breast cancer. I am writing about her on my blog in case there are some bloggers who visit here who haven't heard of her yet. Amazingly, though recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, she is already courageously fighting the cancer AND generously trying to get the word out about the disease in order to save the life of another woman who might have it and not know how to recognize it until it's too late.

Instead of writing more about this myself, I'd rather let her speak about it in her own words. With her permission, I am re-posting her blog entry about the disease from earlier this week. She is encouraging as many bloggers as possible to do the same. To read more about this amazing woman, go to her blog Toddler Planet.

Inflammatory breast cancer
by WhyMommy at Toddler Planet, originally posted 7/23/07

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't she just perfect?

I love her.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous sam said...

I can't get over her. She's dealing with cancer, yet her thoughts are with empowering strangers! What an amazing woman.

Thanks for posting this!

5:11 AM  
Blogger kgirl said...

Represent the healing power of blogs.
thinking of you, wm.

6:05 AM  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I saw a newshow (Dateline, 20/20, something like that) clip about this form of breast cancer last year. Very scary. Thanks for sharing.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Thanks for posting this. It is important for people to know.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

wow. amazing woman.

6:26 AM  

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