Here’s the text of my letter that was published in the Washington Post last week! They won’t publish anything that’s been blogged, so it had to wait … but I wanted to add it to this site, so I’m adding it on 12/12 with 12/4’s date.
Breast Cancer At Its Worst (I didn’t write the headline, by the way!)
Monday, December 3, 2007; Page A16
The Nov. 28 front-page article “Breast Cancer Risk Underestimated for Blacks, Study Says” contained important information to which I can add only one thing: The risk of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), the fastest, deadliest kind of breast cancer, is also much higher for black women than for white women.
This cancer spreads quickly and is difficult to detect with a mammogram because it forms without a lump. IBC is usually detected by women themselves during monthly self-exams or by doctors during clinical exams, so all women need to know to look for any changes in their breasts.
In particular, swelling, redness, itchiness and a change in texture can signal a breast infection or inflammatory breast cancer. Women who notice such a change in only one breast should contact their doctors immediately to rule it out.