For as long as I can recall I’ve heard that women should take the offensive against cancer. Perform monthly self exams, get your annual mammogram (they say after 40, I say 35), get your annual Pap smear. For years I’ve been an advocate, participating in various events to raise money and awareness, educating people to save their own lives. Education and early detection have been the mantra, and I chant it loud and often.
So, imagine my shock when I learned a few days ago that there is a form of breast cancer that is undetectable by either mammogram or self exam! It’s a rare form, so rare in fact that many women who see their doctors about the initial symptoms are told they have an insect bite and are sent away with some antibiotics. These women usually die, as by the time anyone figures out that there is something seriously wrong, they’re Stage Four. There is no Stage Five.
The medical name for the condition is Inflammatory Breast Cancer, IBC. Instead of the lumps or tumors associated with the more common forms of breast cancer, IBC shows up as layers of mutated tissue. It can be spotted on an MRI, but not on a conventional Mammogram.
The first symptoms of IBC are sudden increase in breast size, swelling, discomfort, and/or an inverted (sunken) nipple. As it progresses, bruising and discoloration may appear. But I’m not a doctor, this is just the information I have learned, it’s not everything, get educated and find out for yourself!
I don’t usually do this, but I’ve tried to include a link to a news feature on this disease. It’s a six minute segment that very well could save your life or that of someone you know. Since I can’t get it to link to the site, please, take the time to drop me an e’mail and I will send the clip to you. Pass it on to every woman you know, or anyone who knows a woman.
Also, on the links page of this site, there is a connection to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.komen.org ). They have information there as well. I can’t stress it enough; IBC is killing people who could live long and healthy lives if only they knew in time. This is a battle we can win, but only if we arm ourselves with knowledge and FIGHT! Do it for someone you love, or someone who loves you…