Two women who survived subtypes of breast cancer are warning others to watch out for less obvious signs of the disease.
Olivia Franz and Meadow Bailey have both been diagnosed with less common breast cancers, although they don’t have the characteristic lumps that usually prompt women to seek medical advice.
Ms Franz was 27 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) after noticing swelling in her chest while breastfeeding her son.
When Ms. Franz first saw her doctor, she was misdiagnosed with mastitis, a swelling of the breast usually caused by an infection.
When Ms. Franz saw her doctor, she was diagnosed with mastitis, a swelling of the breast usually caused by an infection. However, after a week of antibiotics which did not help, Ms Franz also noticed that her breast was very red and had almost doubled in size. She also noticed discharge from her nipple
Ms. Bailey has always been healthy and active – and she has never missed an annual mammogram. But shortly after her 49th birthday, doctors called her after noticing something worrying during her last exam.
However, after a week of treatment with antibiotics, it did not help. Mrs. Franz also noticed that her chest was very red and had almost doubled in size. She also noticed discharge from her nipple.
After an ultrasound and biopsy, Ms. Franz was diagnosed with IBC, a rare type of aggressive breast cancer that does not always present with the common symptom of a lump in the breast.
Ms Franz said Hello America: ‘It had spread to my bones. I thought, “Well, I’m going to leave a brand new baby alone, without a mom.” »
“And then my very next thought was, ‘that’s not an option.’ He needs his mother and I’m going to do whatever it takes to be there for him.
IBC is a rare form of breast cancer, accounting for only one to five percent of all breast cancer cases. This tends to occur in women under 40. It is more aggressive: it grows and spreads much more quickly than the most common forms of cancer.
Additionally, due to its unusual symptoms, it is often diagnosed at later stages, and in one in three cases diagnosed, the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, making it more difficult to treat. .
Other symptoms include a breast that is warm to the touch, swollen lymph nodes under the arms and near the collarbone, and an inverted nipple.
The five-year survival rate for IBC that has spread to distant parts of the body, as in the case of Ms. Franz’s bones, is 19 percent.
Ms. Bailey has always been healthy and active – and she has never missed an annual mammogram.
But shortly after her 49th birthday, doctors called her after noticing something worrying during her last exam.
She told GMA, “I thought it wasn’t serious and the radiologist was looking with an ultrasound and she said we have an area of concern here.” And I said “do you sound like cancer?”
Olivia Franz and Meadow Bailey were both diagnosed with the less common breast cancer after experiencing little-known symptoms other than the characteristic lump that prompts women to seek medical advice.
“And she said ‘yeah, I am.’
Ms. Bailey was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular breast cancer, a cancer that, like IBC, usually grows and spreads without forming a distinctive mass.
She said: “I never felt a lump and I also felt really good, so it really caught me off guard.”
Lobular breast cancer begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast and is the second most common form of breast cancer. This represents 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed cases.
It can be difficult to diagnose because of the way the cells grow abnormally, making it harder to recognize on mammograms.
As with IBC, symptoms do not always include a lump and may present as an inverted nipple, a change in the texture of the breast skin, and swelling.
The five-year survival rate for lobular breast cancer is close to 100 percent when treated early.
Both women received specialized, groundbreaking treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Ms. Franz has been cancer-free for three years and Ms. Bailey has been cancer-free for one year.
Following their atypical experiences, both women encourage others to pay attention to changes in their bodies, undergo recommended screenings and advocate for their health.