One of the scariest words on the planet, for me anyway, is the big C. Cancer. I’m scared even writing it. As a (relatively) new mom, I still have those wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night fears that something will happen to take me away from my babies, and this one rates pretty high up there for me.
And yet–and YET–I know I don’t do all that I could to make sure that I’m healthy. My mom keeps at me to have a colonoscopy done. (Yes, it’s what Bush just had done last weekend). It’s probably about as fun as it sounds. But, with our family history, and the fact that by the time you have any symptoms it’s very likely too late, as it was for my uncle who passed away nearly 30 years ago, leaving a wife and baby son…well, let’s just say that it is something I need to so, and am stupidly remiss in not doing.
To that end, a virtual listserv acquaintance has just been diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, an evidently very fest-moving, very dangerous form of breast cancer that I, at least, had never heard of. So, please take a minute to check out what she has to say, and pass on the word. You never know whose life you might save.
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.