Monday, June 19, 2006

IBC: Every Woman Needs to Know

Almost seven years ago, I participated in the Avon 3-Day Walk (now sponsored by the Komen Foundation) here in Atlanta. I’m lucky—no one in my family has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although doctors believed at one point my great-grandmother had the disease, they learned that she in fact had a benign tumor—after they removed both of her breasts. I try to check myself monthly, I go to the doctor yearly, and I’ve had my baseline mammogram. I donate to the Komen Foundation itself, and each year I try to support someone walking in the 3-Day.

Today I’m writing this in response to a news story, sent to me by my mother-in-law, about an uncommon type of breast cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer, or IBC. With this type of breast cancer, there are no detectable lumps. No mammogram catches it. Many doctors, although they learned about this cancer in medical school, have never seen a case and so are likely to misdiagnose the problem as an insect bite or skin problem. And when they do diagnose these cases, it's often too late for standard cancer treatments to be of any help.

I encourage you to watch this news story. Knowledge is power, in this case. Please share this story with other women you know. Post this story on your own blog, or link back here if you wish. If we can save one woman by spreading the word—just one—then the five minutes it takes to watch a video will be worth it.

*photo courtesy of