October is a very busy month for me in that it highlights two causes that are dear to my heart. Firstly, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
My mother died of breast cancer 22 years ago. We say she died of the effects of the chemotherapy not the cancer. Her oncologist put her on a very strong and aggressive chemotherapy cocktail first to try and shrink the tumor before they would do radiation or surgery because the tumor was quite large. But I think he didn’t take into consideration her health or any pre existing conditions. He should’ve lowered the dose, it was just too much for her body to take.
My mother starting finding lumps (benign) when she was in her early 40’s. This last one she found only because she slipped and fell in a furniture store and hit her breast on a corner of a table. She thought the bruising was from the fall but the discoloration and pain wouldn’t go away. Finally they sent her for a mammogram. The 1st report came back benign but, a few months later she was sent back for a more detailed mammogram and ultrasound. This came back positive. Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. A rare and very aggressive type of breast cancer.
With Inflammatory Breast Cancer mammograms don’t always pick them up until they are late stage because they don’t always have a tumor like the other breast cancers. They start out looking like an infection and/or a mass of inflamed tissue or some flat sheet like tissues under the skin and nipple.
It was on labor day weekend (the 1st weekend in September) when she fell. If I remember correctly it was around the end of November that the 1st mammogram came back benign. It wasn’t until March that she found out it was malignant. She passed away May 31st. That is 9 months from the time she fell, and only 2 months from the time she found out it was cancer. She was 69.
In 22 years has anything changed? Are they able to detect this type of breast cancer faster? Or is this basically a death sentence for women?
Until Next Time!