Breast cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death for women, and though public awareness has helped catch developing cancers in time to treat them, the mortality rates remain tragically high. Part of the reason is that most women don’t know that there is more than one kind of breast cancer.
When this other breast cancer strikes, you might not find a lump. A mammogram might not see it. But it is the most aggressive form of breast cancer, capable of spreading through the body rapidly, and killing just as fast. Most women who get it reach Stage 4 (terminal) before they even learn what it is.
It’s called IBC, or Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and 91% of women don’t even know it exists.
IBC is different from the more well-known kind of breast cancer in that it does not form in tumors, but develops in ‘nests’ or sheets of unbound tissue. It permeates the fibrous pathways throughout the breast, and is capable of being transported to other organs through the blood and lymphatic system. It grows like an infection, burrowing through healthy tissue.
Because a mammogram often don’t detect it, and its symptoms are so unspecific, it is incredibly dangerous. Because it spreads so rapidly, it is incredibly lethal.
All women should know that this other kind of breast cancer exists. Its symptoms include:
– Rapid increase in breast size
– Redness or bruising
– Skin feels hot to the touch
– Persistent Itching
– Thickening or swelling of breast tissue
Other clues may be discolorations, like a reaction to a bug bite, or a nipple that becomes inverted due to the rapid swelling. These indications are by no means a matter of certainty; all, some, or none of them may appear.
Women who suspect they may have IBC should be tested immediately. Because it spreads so fast, hoping ‘it may go away’, or feeling embarrassed could get someone killed.
The only ways to be sure are to have an MRI or a biopsy, because only be examining the tissue in-depth can this cancer be detected. If there is a chance of IBC, it should be looked into. As our mothers often say, better safe than sorry.
You can get more information about IBC, or find resources for testing and treatment, by calling the national breast cancer hotline at 1-800-221-2141.
Spread the word – someone’s life may depend on it.