Sunday, June 21, 2009

Scary week

Last week I had a really scary time. My teenage daughter came to me with a hard, swollen, very angry breast. There was no sign of an insect bite and I had never had such a thing at her age.
She said that it had been that way for several days. I tried to appear calm, while inside my head was spinning with thoughts of inflammatory breast disease. We decided to wait for a few days to make sure it was a full week.
Meanwhile, I got on line and started looking. Inflammatory breast disease can attack teenagers. Since I was so young when I had cancer (diagnosis at age 34, lump found in self exam six months earlier...), I felt that it could be a possibility, although I kept on telling myself it was a remote one.
I also started thinking about having some more testing done on me. I've never had any gene testing done, partly because my insurance wouldn't pay for it, partly because at present it wouldn't change any treatment for me, and finally, there is (or was) no protection that the information, if it were positive for gene abnormalities which could be hereditary that insurance companies couldn't use this against my daughter when she needed to be insured on her own.
As far as the need to know for her sake, well, we already know that she has to be careful. Not only have I had breast cancer, but so has my older sister. I'm hoping that the diet of food she has eaten will help, and certainly she is informed where I wasn't.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that they will make some breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment. Thankfully, for the present, the problem went away this week...but it is just brought to mind at the most awful moments.


  1. I don't know if you are alerted to comments on older posts, but I really think there should be more education about this. I had never heard of it until my doctor said my biopsy was positive for cancer and she believed it was inflammatory breast cancer.
    I'm glad your daughter was OK. I worry about my two as I was the third generation in a row to get breast cancer. I had the BRCA test because of them and it was negative.
    Elizabeth J.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I do get notices of comments on older posts. Inflammatory breast cancer is sort of the step-child of breast cancers in my book. As you're probably aware, it is often missed on mammograms and since it doesn't form a lump and people are not aware of this form, self-breast exams don't catch it either. I am a little cautious in the gene testing as we know so little. Breast cancer is probably controlled by many genes, and so far, we have BRCA1 and BRCA2, and of course whether or not it is HER2neu positive or negative...and that's about it. The ACS has a good website which deals ONLY with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

      I wish that there WAS more out there about it... I hope you're doing fine.