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08/04/2009 09:56 AM

Inflammatory Breast Cancer symptoms?

violett
violett  
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Hi. My mother died of breast cancer, so I am diligent in doing what I have to do for my breast health.

My right breast has been swelling off and on for several months. Now, the last couple of weeks or more, there is a purple ring around the areola and the nipple is slightly sore. I just now called the gynecologist and they are working me in this afternoon.

I don't know why I am writing this post now, when I don't know anything yet. I guess I'm just a little nervous. Probably nothing. I'm already dealing with one disease that could eventually be terminal, so I know I can take it if I find it is cancer. I look much better than any of the pictures I saw on the internet. Surely if it is IBC, it is early stage and can be fixed.

Thanks for reading. I guess I just want some support and advice from those who know.

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08/04/2009 05:30 PM
jessicaharris9

Violett

Kudos to you for being so diligent about your breast health! I only wish my sisters took the issue as seriously. Wow that you are aware of IBC; only there is no such thing as early stage. IBC is only a stage IIIb or IV cancer. Treatable though not "fixable" (i.e. the boob will be removed); I was diagnosed with it over 3 years ago and went into complete remission by the end of chemo (6 mos).

Good luck and let us know what the doc says, we're praying for you! Something much easier to treat (CURE) and less scary!

Hugs

Jessi


08/05/2009 06:04 PM
violett
violett  
Posts: 3376
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Thanks. Actually I didn't know about IBC. When I got the symptoms, I looked it up on the internet and decided I should see a doctor.

The complication on this is that I also have Erythroderma - red burned skin, pain, and intense intching all aver. You can see why it would be hard to diagnose it. What drew my attention to it was the purple ring around the areola and the swelling.

I saw my Erythroderma doc today and he said he feels it is just this disease I have causing the problem, however, he agreed that I should follow up with the surgeon for further testing.

I go a week from Friday. I'm not going to worry until I know what I am dealing with. Then, hopefully, it is nothing. But if it is, I'll insist on doing what has to be done quickly.

It's encouraging that you are in remission. What is your long term prognosis? I admire you for running this forum to help others!

Thanks.


08/06/2009 02:33 AM
carolyn2

jessie has forgotten to mention the crazy case

me

i have all the symptoms of IBC and yet because of funds and other things docs here are saying dont worry about it

you hav a stack going on and know what its like but dont forgett youre familiy might be struggeling too


08/06/2009 03:15 AM
jessicaharris9

IBC prognosis is 40% survive the first 5 years; my surgeon gave me 18 months based upon the extent of disease at diagnosis. Thankfully I was HER2+ and responded to Herceptin (see the Lifetime movie "Living Proof"Wink. Every year my long-term prognosis gets longer, at one point my doctor said I may have up to 15-20 years (so not good enough but I'll take it). After the brain tumor in June I decided I don't want to know my prognosis as it's only an educated guess based off of statistics. I'll just be as healthy as possible and keep taking advantage of amazing doctors and new medical advancements. I was discharged from the hospital 2 days after brain surgery with no noticiable side effects (other than medications). Pretty darn amazing!

I agree your breast issue sounds more like your other ailment; but yes seeing a surgeon is imperative! IBC doesn't show up on mammogram or ultrasound; so a breast MRI with several core needle biopsies will be the best way to rule out IBC. Most doctors have never seen IBC; so it's very important you see a breast surgeon with IBC experience. IBC grows in webbed sheets below the skin and there isn't even a specific test for it; so they can biopsy and it won't show up (that happened to me, thankfully they found cancer but not the IBC; I was diagnosed based off of symptoms).

Let us know how it goes with the surgeon! Hang in there! If your breasts are really itchy; use hydrocortisone cream and if need be take an antihistamine if they work. I also used cabbage leaves on my breasts; it's actually a breastfeeding trick for mastitis and drying up breast milk but it helps take down the inflammation. So does vitamin C. For pain take ibuprofen as it is also an anti-inflammatory.

GOOD LUCK

Hugs

Jessi


08/06/2009 03:17 AM
jessicaharris9

There is also Paget's disease of the nipple; I don't know anything about that but your surgeon will know if your symptoms are related or not.

http://www.breastcancer.org/


08/06/2009 09:31 AM
violett
violett  
Posts: 3376
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I'm an Advocate

Jessica, Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate hearing from someone who knows first hand about IBC. You have been through a lot, and I admire your positive attitude. I certainly will try the methods you mentioned. It might help with other parts of my body too. The itch is very intense - everywhere.

This is a strange disease. It can eventually be terminal, but that takes a long time. It also can exist because the body is trying to fight off an undetected cancer. Some people go into remission, others never do.

I pray I don't have IBC. But if I do, I'l do what I have to and go on. What can you tell me about the needle biopsies? Actually I want to know if it is painful. I had a core biopsy with a rod inserted and it hurt badly in spite of the anesthetic. I hope the needle biopsy isn't like that.

Carolyn, I hope you can find a doctor who will take this seriously! Not sure what you meaan by "a stack going on." Maybe a stack of ailments? That I have. I haven't told this to my family yet. I'll wait and if I do have a problem, will let them know. They worry too much about me already and I won't upset them needlessly.


08/07/2009 03:01 AM
jessicaharris9

My first biopsy I was knocked out for as it was incesional. My second biopsy was MRI guided and I referred to it as the "boob auger" as it sounded like an electric drill. I was laying on my stomach, I felt like I was in an "instant oil change" LOL. I believe mine was a core as well but it may have been fine needle(hole was about the size of a grain of rice); I did have a marker installed as well. I didn't have pain during the procedure but I did need to ice my breast down and did have some bruising. Ask doc for some valium prior to the procedure and let them know if it's hurting, they'll give you more local anesthetic! No reason to suffer. You can usually load up on advil prior to the procedure as well for added pain relief; just clear it with doc first (gotta watch potentional blood thinners). Make sure someone does go with you to the biopsy for moral support plus you won't feel up to driving. I took about 2 days to recover.

Good luck!


08/07/2009 03:06 AM
carolyn2

ihi voilett i was reffering too the emotional and psysicall side of it

as when i first found out my mind was going zillion miles an hour like your familys is

but you are doing the right thing


08/07/2009 11:42 AM
violett
violett  
Posts: 3376
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Thanks to you both. This morning the redness was some better but the swelling is still there. Whatever that biopsy was that I had, it was MRI guided too. I was also on my stomach with my boob in a hole. They told me it would hurt and it did. He pushed the rod in a tiny bit, then would let me rest before pushing it in further. It sounds like the same thing you had, but with less anesthetic.

After the rod was in place, I had to carefully (without disturbing the rod that was sticking out in front) get on a different table for the surgery. I was also awake for this, but she gave me more anesthetic in the boob and I didn't feel it. They removed a tiny growth and it turned out to be benign.

I'll tell my daughters if I have to have any testing, but will wait until I see the surgeon and get it from him what to expect. My husband knows. He has been very supportive through this other illness. He is wonderful and that makes the rough spots smoother. Hopefully, the surgeon will send me away, saying there is not a problem.

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