In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing. Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics 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 was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she 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 to be delivered to women everywhere:
Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent 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 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 single red pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget's disease 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 causing it to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outer edge on one side.)
2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureole area with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).
3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mamogram of both breasts, done immediately. Even though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor 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.
This message should be taken seriously and passed on to as many of your relatives and friends as possible; it could save someone's life. My breast cancer has spread and metastasized to my bones after receiving mega doses of chemotherapy, 28 treatments of radiation and taking Tamaxofin. If this had been diagnosed as breast cancer in the beginning, perhaps it would not have spread...
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