Monique Griffin is a talented scrapbooker from the Cricut Message Board. I have been following Monique's battle with breast cancer on Caring Bridge. She is having surgery today to remove both breasts. She asked us to spread the word about IBC, the rare type of Breast Cancer that she has.
This is quoted from her Caring Bridge journal:
Ya know, I've mentioned several times how important it is for us women to do self-checks and get mammograms. And I know that many of you have done this, which is SO great!!! But now I want to mention one more thing. I only realized about a month ago that the type of breast cancer I have is Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This is a more rare type of breast cancer (1-5% of breast cancers are IBC), where the cancer cells actually enter the lymphatic system in the skin of the breast. Usually you don't even get a lump with IBC, although I did since mine was pretty advanced. So since the cancer is in the lymphatic system, the fluid backs up in the breast and causes symptoms such as redness, a rash (small or large), swelling of the breast, flattened or retracted nipple, itching and pain. Sometimes the symptoms can even occur overnight. If you ever notice any of these changes, it's extremely important to be seen right away. Many primary doctors have never seen a case, so it often gets misdiagnosed as an infection. But if you don't have a fever, it's probably not an infection, and you need to see a breast specialist and get a skin biopsy ASAP. It's the most aggressive breast cancer there is, and it spreads quickly, so time if of the essence. Since so many people don't know anything about this, I want to spread the word, and hope that you all will help me spread the word. I personally didn't know much about this, and that's a big reason I didn't go to the doctor sooner - because my symptoms were so different than standard breast cancer. Please tell all of the women in your life about this and to be aware of any changes to the skin. You can learn more on this IBC website: http://www.eraseibc.com/index.html. My doctor in Philadelphia, Dr. Cristofanilli, assists with the website, and it's their mission to educate women AND doctors about this disease.
Me again here. I had my annual mamogram this month (normal results thank goodness) and I have to say it is not the most comfortable thing. I would rather have a mamogram every day than chemo, radiation and/or surgery to remove my breasts! Ladies...please take care of your breasts!!!
I also want to mention that another message board friend Brenda from BrensDesigns is having surgery Friday to remove her breasts and some lymph nodes. I will be thinking about both of you ladies!!!