Ryker's mama here, Hi to all our blogging friends and Thank You so much for all you well wishes during my recent surgery. I have information that I feel obligated to share with you in hopes that you will pass it along. Perhaps it will save a life with early detection.
I was diagnosed with IBC inflammatory breast cancer in late August of 2011. I went through 5 months of chemotherapy and just had a mastectomy last week. In a few more weeks I will start radiation therapy.
I was blessed with really good news from the pathologist. He said that he saw no residual cancer, Hooray! But remission or not my philosophy is to live everyday to the fullest. It's the quality or life that matters, not the quantity.
Inflammatory breast cancer is the rarest and most deadly of the breast cancers. It strikes young women as often as older women, breastfeeding mothers as often as grandmothers, and women with and without a history of breast cancer in their family. It does not always form a lump in the breast and did not in my case. In fact I had had a mammogram in June that looked normal. Instead, it forms in sheets and nests in the lymphatic system of the skin, appearing only after it clogs the lymph system with cancer, causing skin changes. Mine were very subtle, just a deeper pink crescent of skin about 2" by 5" that appeared suddenly and did not go away. It did not itch or hurt, just pinker that the rest of my skin.
Sometimes, the texture of the skin changes first, becoming tough, hard, or with little dimples like an orange peel. Sometimes, it feels thick to the touch, or hot, or just … different.
Luckily I headed to the Dr. in a timely manner and we diagnosed it early.
Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis, especially in nursing women. The important thing to know is, if you are diagnosed with mastitis and it doesn’t clear up with 10 days of antibiotics, SOMETHING ELSE may be wrong. Please, please go back to your health care professional and talk again. Ask for tests to rule out inflammatory breast cancer. Insist on further tests and a skin and/or core biopsy. Because each week that you delay is a week that this cancer will grow and expand and be just that much harder to eradicate.
Survival rates for women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer are grim. Only 25 to 50 percent of women will survive five years. Believe it or not, this is a HUGE improvement over the survival statistics of just a few years ago — when only 1-2% could expect to be alive five years after diagnosis. Even with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, 90% of women will suffer a recurrence. This is a lifelong battle for those that are diagnosed, and it is a very difficult disease to battle, as it’s one of the few cancers that are obvious on the surface of the body; as it marches across a woman’s breast
For more information, please visit:
- The National Cancer Institute;
- The Mayo Clinic;
- The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation;
- The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Association;
- The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation;