If IBC is So Rare…

March 18th, 2008

If Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is so rare, why did I learn yesterday of yet another case of IBC? This time, it’s my former boss’s daughter-in-law.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop what you are doing, bookmark this post to return to it, or read on. You could save the life of a woman you love.

IBC is the rarest and most aggressive form of breast cancer. It does not present with a lump. IBC may look like a rash, a bug bite, a bruise, or even mastitis. Bottom line: if a woman notices a change in her breast, she needs to contact her doctor right away to rule out IBC.

My very first post on OrganicMania was about IBC. You can read it here. I dedicated that post to two friends who are fighting IBC. And this post is dedicated to Adriana, with a million billion wishes for a full recovery.

To learn more about IBC, visit ToddlerPlanet – a wonderful blog about fighting IBC and raising kids. There you’ll find wonderful posts like this one about IBC (including links to IBC-specific cancer organizations) and this series of many posts about how to help a friend with cancer.

And pass this post on to the women you love. Now.

— Lynn

Welcome to OrganicMania!

October 11th, 2007

It’s a bit daunting to write this first post. There’s so much to discuss about organics and healthy living that it’s hard to know where to start. So I think I’ll go back to thoughts of a woman who inspired me to start this blog, an incredibly courageous mother who is raising two young children and fighting inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), all while blogging as “WhyMommy” at Toddler Planet.

This blog post is my attempt to help raise awareness of this rare disease that has now struck two of my friends. IBC does not manifest as a lump. It is often mistaken for an infection. Sadly, many women seek medical advice later than they should because they don’t recognize the signs of IBC. Every woman needs to know about early detection of IBC to ensure she lives a long, healthy life. Following is a post from Toddler Planet about IBC. Please read this and pass it along to someone you love.

Do let me know if you have suggestions for the blog as well….I’d love the input!  (And if you’d like to learn more about why I started OrganicMania, please read the About page).

“Inflammatory breast cancer is the rarest and most deadly of the breast cancers. It strikes young women as often as older women, breastfeeding mothers as often as grandmothers, and women with and without a history of breast cancer in their family. It does not always form a lump in the breast. Instead, it forms in sheets and nests in the lymphatic system of the skin, appearing only after it clogs the lymph system with cancer, causing the skin to swell and turn red as if in anger.

Sometimes, it appears first as a mark like a bug bite, or a bruise that just won’t heal. Sometimes, the texture of the skin changes first, becoming tough, hard, or with little dimples like an orange peel. Sometimes, it feels thick to the touch, or hot, or just … different.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis, especially in nursing women. The important thing to know is, if you are diagnosed with mastitis and it doesn’t clear up with 10 days of antibiotics, SOMETHING ELSE may be wrong. Please, please go back to your OB/GYN or other health care professional and talk to her again. Ask her for tests to rule out inflammatory breast cancer. Tell her that you’re worried, that something just isn’t right. Insist on futher tests and a skin and/or core biopsy. Because each week that you delay is a week that this cancer will grow and expand and be just that much harder to eradicate.

Survival rates for women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer are grim. Only 25 to 50 percent of women will survive five years. Believe it or not, this is a HUGE improvement over the survival statistics of just a few years ago — when only 1-2% could expect to be alive five years after diagnosis. Even with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, 90% of women will suffer a recurrence. This is a lifelong battle for those that are diagnosed, and it is a very difficult disease to battle, as it’s one of the few cancers that are obvious on the surface of the body; as it marches across a woman’s breast, it is very hard to watch.

For more information, please visit:

Edited 9/26 to add: There is new hope — just today — for HER-2 positive cancers. We need this research. This is saving lives.”

This post is dedicated to Sam and Susan. Keep up the good fight!

— Lynn