IBC in Australia

November 20, 2010

A package came in the mail today from Australia.  It was filled with Cadbury chocolates with pictures of wallabys and kangaroos and wombats (I think) and an animal I swear I’ve never seen before but might fit in over at Jean’s house; a bag of Cherry Ripe chocolates (OMG, I’m so sharing these with TheDCMoms the next time we’re together — well, what’s left); vegemite (Kate! What do I do with this? toast?); a book for the kids (Diary of a Wombat! I’m going to read that to the kids right now!  Okay, I’m back.); a book for me by Caroline Roessler, the  editor of Notebook: magazine; and a 2011 calendar diary that is so relaxing and hopeful, useful for making plans.  Which I’m doing now, baby!

AND two copies of the October 2010 Notebook magazine, with a full-page article about IBC!  In my words!  The author, Donna Reeves, excerpted my blog posts to tell my story, and I really like the way it came out.  There was also a sidebar with symptoms of IBC (YAY!) and an additional reference to the story in a later blurb on Breast Cancer Awareness Month: “While most women know to do regular breast checks, there is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer that does not present as a lump, called inflammatory breast cancer.  It affects around one to two percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year.  See page 76 for more.”

The one to two percent reminds me why we still struggle to get the word out, particularly in countries with fewer overall cases of breast cancer (in number, not necessarily percentage).  Since 13,000 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer this year, only a couple hundred will have IBC.  How difficult must it be to ensure that all the GP’s are aware of such a fast-moving and terrible — yet rare — disease when only a hundred or two people nationwide are diagnosed?

Although Notebook: magazine has since folded, I’m so happy for our story to have been featured with a list of symptoms and encouragement for breast self-exams.  Thank you, Donna, for contacting me and making this happen.