Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Medical Reports: Warning For Women
Tonight, a warning for all women. While most of us know how to check ourselves for breast cancer, one form of the disease is so deceiving it can't be seen on a mammogram. It's the most aggressive kind of breast cancer and the most misdiagnosed.
WSVN -- They are the rules we live by when it comes to breast cancer: Look for lumps, get yearly mammograms, see your doctor.
But as more and more women are finding out, the rules don't apply to everyone.
Debra Horner: "I always checked every month for lumps."
A self-exam couldn't protect Debra Horner from a horrifying diagnosis.
Debra: "I was frightened because I thought I was going to die."
A mammogram didn't help Dyon Hill.
Dyon Hill: "No, a mammogram did not pick it up for me."
She got the shocking news just weeks after giving birth to baby Rayanna.
Dyon Hill: "For me, to find that out was really hard for me."
Both women suffer from an extremely lethal kind of breast cancer.
An illness most of us have never heard about called Inflammatory Breast Cancer or IBC.
Debra Horner: "I never knew about it. No, I never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer before."
Dr. Alejandra Perez: "IBC is what we call the silent killer because patients aren't aware of this disease, and it's very aggressive."
Very aggressive and very rare.
IBC makes up less than five percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S.
But when it forms, it spreads fast.
Dr. Alejandra Perez: "Of all women with IBC, the five year survival rate is 40 percent."
Belkys Nerey: "What makes IBC even more dangerous is it often goes undiagnosed. When you look at an X-ray for breast cancer, this is what it normally looks like. You can clearly see the cancer. With IBC, there's no mass and no lump because the cancer hides in the lymph nodes.
Dr. Fernando de Zarraga: "The usual ways we recommend women to screen for breast cancer do not necessarily apply to specifically IBC, so women have to be vigilant, women have to be aware of IBC and it's symptoms."
Symptoms include rapid swelling of the breast or redness, or your breast could feel hot to the touch.
Dyon Horner: "It feels like you're over a heat."
Also, look for an inverted nipple or nipple discharge, an orange peel texture to the breast or persistent itching.
But unlike most other kinds of cancer, family history is not a reliable indicator.
The only true way to detect it is through a biopsy.
Artie Fox: "I never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer before, it freaked me out, it really frightened me. So I said, 'I have got to find somebody to help me get the word out to the community.'"
Artie Fox found out about IBC through an email.
She's so concerned, she's working to warn all women.
Speaker: "There's no lump ..."
Artie even invited the sister of an IBC victim to speak at her church.
Catherine Roach Connor: "If something doesn't look right ... don't wait."
Debra and Dyon wish they hadn't waited.
Today, they must undergo radiation and chemotherapy, but there are no promises.
Debra Hill: "The scary part is I could get the cancer back, and I live with that every day of my life."
A life so precious, especially now that they have so much to live for.
Dyon Horner: "Nobody wants to die right now. I just want to be there for my child, my daughter."
Right now, doctors do not know what causes IBC, but it usually strikes women at a younger age, as oppsed to typical breast cancer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Sandra Franco and Dr. Alejandra Perez
Memorial Cancer Institute