I don’t normally do this sort of thing (heck this is the first time!). And I don’t even know if I have it right – feel free to jump in and tell me what sort of blogging ‘rules’ I have broken doing this, but Why Mommy from Toddler Planet is an amazing inspirational woman. I find myself thinking of her on my dark days and realising that I should take a leaf out of her book and just get on with it. I am well. I don’t have chemo to deal with on top of raising my kids.

My mum has battled breast cancer (unfortunately not with the grace and style of Why Mommy, my mum introduces herself as ‘Hi I’m M a breast cancer survivor. Oh and my grandson has Autism…..’ to put it mildly she revels in the attention…..sigh) found a lump on New Years Eve 1998 and was in surgery having a full masectomy 3 weeks later. Scary time. Thankfully my mum needed only to take Temoxifin (sp?) and not have to go the full round of chemo/radiation therapy. When I am stressed I like to renovate -yeah weird huh? – and I can tell you lots of painting got done and I demolished and rebuilt my kitchen. By myself!

Anyway, Why Mommy has asked everyone who reads her blog to post this on their blogs in the hope that it will make us all do a monthly breast exam and be aware of the different types of breast cancer and the symptoms.

Wish I knew how to work the links…… Her blog is toddlerplanet and is in my blogroll.

Inflammatory breast cancer

Monday July 23rd 2007, 3:11 pm
Filed under: About Us / Favorites, breast cancer

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.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.