The breast cancers that DON’T start with a lump: Two survivors of rarer subtypes of disease issue warning to other women about symptoms that doctors nearly missed
- Neither woman felt a lump in their breast before visiting their doctors
- Following their experiences, they urge others to pay attention to their bodies
- READ MORE: America’s fight back against breast cancer laid bare
Two women who survived subtypes of breast cancer are warning others to be on the lookout for less obvious signs of the disease.
Olivia Franz and Meadow Bailey were both diagnosed with less common types of breast cancer despite not showing the hallmark lumps that usually prompt women to seek a medical opinion.
Ms Franz was 27 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) after she noticed swelling in her breast while breastfeeding her son.
When Ms Franz first visited her doctor she was misdiagnosed with mastitis, swelling in the breast usually caused by an infection.
When Ms Franz visited her doctor and was originally diagnosed with mastitis, swelling in the breast usually caused by an infection. However, after a week of antibiotics didn’t help, Ms Franz also noticed her breast was very red and almost doubled in size. She also noticed discharge from her nipple
Ms Bailey had always been healthy and active — and she never missed a yearly mammogram. But shortly after her 49th birthday, doctors called her in after noticing something concerning in her last screening
However, after a week of antibiotics, it didn’t help. Ms Franz also noticed her breast was very red and almost doubled in size. She also noticed a discharge from her nipple.
After an ultrasound and biopsy, Ms Franz received the diagnosis of IBC, a rare type of aggressive breast cancer that doesn’t always present with the common symptom of a lump in the breast.
Ms Franz told Good Morning America: ‘It had spread to my bones. I thought, “well I’m going to leave a brand new baby alone with no mom.”
‘And then my very next thought was, “that’s not an option.” He needs his mom and I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep myself here for him.’
IBC is a rare form of breast cancer, only accounting for one to five percent of all breast cancer cases. It tends to occur in women younger than 40 years old. It is more aggressive — growing and spreading much faster than more common forms of the cancer.
Additionally, because of its unusual symptoms, it is often diagnosed at later stages and in one in three cases diagnosed, the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, making it harder to treat.
Other symptoms include one breast feeling warm to the touch, swelling of lymph nodes under the arms and near the collarbone and an inverted nipple.
The five-year survival rate for IBC that has spread to distant parts of the body, like the bones Ms Franz’s case, is 19 percent.
Ms Bailey had always been healthy and active — and she never missed a yearly mammogram.
But shortly after her 49th birthday, doctors called her in after noticing something concerning in her last screening.
She told GMA: ‘I thought, “not a big deal” and the radiologist was looking with an ultrasound and she said “we’ve got some area of concern here.” And I said “are you talking like cancer?”
Olivia Franz and Meadow Bailey were both diagnosed with less common types of breast cancer after experiencing little-talked about symptoms other than the hallmark lump that prompts women to seek a medical opinion
‘And she said ”yeah, I am.”’
Ms Bailey was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular breast cancer, a cancer that, like IBC, typically grows and spreads without forming a distinctive lump.
She said: ‘I never felt a lump and I also felt really good, so it really caught me off guard.’
Lobular breast cancer begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast and is the second most common form of breast cancer. It accounts for 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed cases.
It can be difficult to diagnose because of the abnormal way the cells grow, making it harder to recognize on mammograms.
Like IBC, symptoms don’t always include a lump and can present as an inverted nipple, a change in the texture of the breast skin and swelling.
The five-year survival rate of lobular breast cancer is nearly 100 percent when treated early.
Both women received specialized and breakthrough treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Ms Franz has been cancer free for three years and Ms Bailey has been cancer free for one year.
Following their atypical experiences, both women urge others to pay attention to changes in their bodies, undergo recommended screenings and advocate for your health.
Source: Read Full Article