Thursday, January 31, 2008

New kind of Breast Cancer?

In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developeda rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing.Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her withantibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worse,so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass. A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, s he was given a clean bill of health.

She had one year of living each day to its fullest.Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatments and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effects of Chemo.She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days.After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message tobe delivered to women everywhere:

Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and bepersistent in getting help as soon as possible.

Paget's Disease: This is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole. It appeared as a rash,which later became a lesion with a crusty at outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that.Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn't bother me. It was just ugly and a nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis on my eyes just prior to this outbreak.They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous.

Now, I suspect not many women out there know a lesion or rash on the nipple or aureole can be breast cancer. (Mine started out as a singlered pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget' sdisease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.)

What are the symptoms?

1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causingit to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, andhad no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outeredge on one side.)

2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureolearea with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).

3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Yourdoctor will do a physic al exam and should suggest having a mammogram ofboth breasts, done immediately. Even though the redness, oozing andcrusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), yourdoctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on.