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Daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend. Living each day to the fullest. I know God has a plan for me, if I could just see it all through His eyes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I am taking an informal poll....

How many of you have ever heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer?


Don't feel bad. Not many people are aware of it.

I first read up on it about a year ago as I stumbled upon the term when I was having labs ran on a spot on my breast. That spot turned out to be a very small cyst and it went away on its own rather quickly.

I forgot all about IBC. Until today.

Yesterday I visited my doctor because of a sore lump surrounded by a large reddish patch below one breast. He told me it was cellulitis and prescribed an antibiotic. Thanks, and I went home.

Today I started studying up on cellulitis. That's not pretty in itself. I specifically 'googled' "breast cellulitis" because most sites mentioned that it was common on the extremities (arms and legs) and was a cause for great concern if on the face. But nowhere did it mention the breast. When I started looking into "breast cellulitis" I found on one site that it mentioned that IBC was often misdiagnosed as cellulitis of the breast.

Well, that woke me up in a hurry.

I am not of the hypochondriac variety. But I dug a bit further and made up my mind that if this does not clear up in the 10 days of antibiotic treatment I will have my doctor specifically check for IBC.

It's kinda scary.

Here's some facts:
1. Rare but very aggressive. Accounts for 1-5% of all breast cancer cases in US.
2. Can occur in men and women of any age. Young to old.
3. Symptoms include redness, swelling, warmth, often lacks noticeable lump, skin may be ridged or pitted like orange peel, heaviness, burning or aching of breast, inverted nipple, discoloration, swollen lymph nodes.
4. Mammograms often miss the diagnoses because it does not look like the "typical" breast cancer lump but is more like a sheet of cancer in breast tissue.
5. 5 year survival rate of 25-50%
6. Symptoms can appear over-night.



Surprisingly, the Susan G. Koman for the Cure site does not have any information on this type of cancer.

I hope by posting this will help someone survive.

PS. I would appreciate any information anyone else has on this. Thank you!


Kimberli said...

Did you have to share this info with your hypochondriac preggo-hormonal sister?! I know of IBC, but not all the facts - and obviously, did not know the connection to/misdiagnosis of cellulitis. Keep me informed, okay? xoxo

Cheryl Lynn Hirzel said...

I think I read about it when it went around in an e-mail a while back...As your older sister, I think you need to make an appointment ASAP with a breast specialist and get a second opionion, whether or not the rash disappears...even if it takes a 3rd opinion before your mind is eased. You don't want this to be hanging around in the back of your mind. Love and Prayers!

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with IBC in 2007 and went thru surgery, radiation and chemo. The thing that bothers me now is that my left breast has been hurting and small spots of red come and go. I have cellulitis in my right arm, extremely swollen and red. Have never been able to control to the point of getting rid of it. Left arm has always had a red tone but now entire arm is red. Oncologist and other drs. don't seem to think anything serious. Have had many tests with negative results. Mammo come back ok. But how can you be sure when there are no lumps? DeeG