Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Every Nurse Should Know About IBC

As many of you know, my very close friend Victoria Berry,MSN,RN,CNS,CWCN passed away on April 7, 2009 from IBC/Inflammatory Breast Cancer. When she initially told me her diagnosis, I did not know that there were types of breast cancer nor did I know that this particular type does not show up with a lump. All the steps we have been told to watch for did not apply: self exams, mammograms

This cancer shows up with some, but not all of these symptoms: enlarged breast, redness, hot to the touch, rippled skin, inverted nipple. The symptoms can be so non-specific that it can be misdiagnosed as an infection, bug bite, irritation etc. Victoria had a negative mammogram 5 months prior to her diagnosis. Her IBC showed up looking like mastitis, but she had a very astute physician, Patricia Gunter, MD, who immediately recognized that the symptoms were more than they appeared and it was 2 weeks from the time the symptoms showed up and she was diagnosed with IBC. But, IBC is very aggressive and Victoria lost her battle a little over a year after being diagnosed. Nurses may the first one to see this disease so it is important that nurses know the symptoms in order to urge patients to see a doctor immediately. IBC is not a disease that can wait, it is considered an emergency because it is so aggressive. Also, urge patients to seek specialized care with health care providers that have experience treating IBC.

Below is a video from Komo News 4 in Washington. They have done multiple stories about IBC. They include a report about a 16 year old that died from IBC!