Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Though rare, it accounts for just under five percent of all diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the United States. This particular breast cancer is labeled inflammatory because the most significant symptom is a swollen breast which is often inflamed and red. Technically, this cancer develops from cells lining the milk ducts in the breast, and then it spreads beyond those ducts. The cancer cells then block the lymph vessels found in the breast. This type of breast cancer spreads quickly and can be deadly in a matter of weeks or months.
Other characteristics of this form of breast cancer include the fact that it is often found more in those of a younger age, more often in African American women than Caucasian women, and more often in obese women than other women. Another characteristic of inflammatory breast cancer is that it often cannot be treated with hormone therapy as it is frequently hormone receptor negative. This kind of cancer can also occur in men, but it is not common in men.
It is not uncommon then to have a lumpectomy (removal of a lump from your breast) or a mastectomy (removal of your breast) due to inflammatory breast cancer. If this is your experience, then there may be an option for you to have breast reconstruction done, which is a surgery to rebuild or reconstruct your breasts. Breast reconstruction can take place soon after the mastectomy or lumpectomy, however, it can be done a lot later, even after many months or years. In breast reconstruction surgery, a skilled plastic surgeon will build a breast shape for you using a piece of tissue from another part of your body or use an artificial implant, or even both.
How you feel after having a mastectomy due to inflammatory breast cancer is very crucial. It is quite normal to feel sad or gloomy. Many women feel unsure of themselves, even very anxious about every aspect of life after that. A core identifying mark of your womanhood has been removed, but that does not have to define you. In fact, it does not define you. One option that may facilitate moving forward is to have the breast reconstruction done. Although the result is obviously not the original, you are who you were originally, and the result is an extension of you. It’s worth repeating. You have not gone away. You are not defined by the fact of having breast cancer or having the resulting mastectomy. You are not defined by the makeup of your breast or even the shape of your breast. Your true beauty still lies within. There are products available to you, such as Shells or Shapers, which may be covered by your insurance.