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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Published

Like the title said, I'm published. Nothing scientific, no case studies, nothing monumental in the course of pharmacology, just a general informative article. I wrote it while on my internship at Pikeville Medical Center in the CCU. It was in the "Ask the Pharmacist" section of the September 19th edition of the Medical Leader News here in Kentucky.

I would really love it if you all could read it... not for my own good, but for yours and your girlfriends', your mom, sister, daughter, and all the other important women in your life. My mom is due the credit for sending me an email about this type of cancer before and it really peaked my interest. Also, if you have time, watch the video as well which shows helpful pictures and drives the point home (one girl on the video died from this breast cancer at 16 years old). Or come back and watch it later. But PLEASE, please, read the article. You'll see why:

Q: I heard there is a type of breast cancer that most mammograms and ultrasounds are not able to detect. Is this true? What should I look for to detect it?

A: You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) does not grow in the form of lumps and is usually not detected by diagnostic equipment or routine monthly breast exams. Even after seeing a doctor to learn the cause of their symptoms, women who have IBC may remain undiagnosed for long periods of time. The symptoms of IBC are similar to those of a breast infection (or, mastitis). Some doctors, not recognizing IBC, prescribe antibiotics. If a response to antibiotics is not apparent after a week, a biopsy should be performed or the patient should be referred to a breast specialist. In IBC, cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This type of breast cancer is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or “inflamed.” IBC accounts for 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States. It tends to be diagnosed in younger women.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but very aggressive type of breast cancer. IBC is more likely to have metastasized (spread to other areas of the body) at the time of diagnosis than non-IBC cases. As a result, the 5-year survival rate for patients with IBC is between 25 and 50 percent, which is significantly lower than the survival rate for patients with non-IBC breast cancer. When a doctor suspects IBC, a biopsy, mammogram, and breast ultrasound are used to confirm the diagnosis. IBC is classified as either stage IIIB or stage IV breast cancer. Stage IIIB breast cancers are locally advanced; stage IV breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other organs. The symptoms of IBC usually develop quickly— over a period of weeks or months.
The physical appearance of the breast of patients with IBC is different from that of patients with other stage III breast cancers. Knowing the symptoms of IBC is the first step in protecting yourself.

Symptoms include:
• Redness
• Swelling
• Warmth in the breast
• Heaviness
• Burning
• Aching
• Increase in breast size
• Tenderness
• The skin may appear pink, reddish-purple, or bruised
• The skin may have ridges or look pitted like the skin of an orange
• Swollen lymph nodes may be present under the arm and/or above the collarbone.

Treatment consisting of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy is used to treat IBC. Chemotherapy (anticancer drugs) is generally the first treatment for patients with IBC. After chemotherapy, patients with IBC may undergo surgery and radiation therapy to the chest wall.

To learn more about IBC, other types of breast cancer, and breast health in general, please refer to the following resources:

• NCI 's Breast Cancer Home Page (
• Breast Cancer ( PDQ®): Treatment (
•Understanding Breast Changes: A Health Guide for All Women (
• What You Need To Know About™ Breast Cancer (

I took the music off the page for now, hoping it wouldn't be a hindrance to those wanting to watch this video but didn't know how to stop the music. Please watch when you have the time!

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I just shared my thoughts, I'd love to hear you share yours! {Besides, I'm tired of listening to the voices in my head.} I kid, I kid... ;)