Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Paranoid or Careful?
I’m a 23-year old female, for those that don’t know. Non-smoker, no family history of breast cancer.
Last month I was having mild daily headaches, some tiredness, and pain/tension in my shoulders/upper back. I was diagnosed with tension headaches and put on a round of an anti-inflammatory pills, muscle relaxers, pain meds, and prednisone.
Upon completion of these pills, my muscles became sore to the touch and my whole body felt weak and achy. I discovered that coming off prednisone can cause this, and it went away in 3–4 days.
I’ll still occasionally get a headache, but ibuprofen takes care of it, but I’m no longer tired. I have occasional random body pains that are mildly irritating, but not consistent or extremely painful. These have been in my back, ribs, neck, and arms and are often sore to push on, but go away in a few minutes.
I only told you all of that in case it matters, but I’m not sure it does.
Two weeks ago, my right breast started to feel tender and heavy. I’ve been wearing a sports bra at night, which helps. My right breast has always been a bit bigger than the other and breast tenderness is pretty common for me, so I didn’t think much of it.
Monday of this week, the heavy feeling wasn’t as noticeable, but I had a few sharp burning pains in that breast that concerned me. Since then, I’ve had a couple of these pains, but I’ve noticed a couple in the other breast as well. Yesterday I had no pain at all until I took my bra off, thought I saw a bruise (faint, not noticeable this morning), and the tenderness seemed to come back. Today it’s pretty sore.
Now, when I google these symptoms, I get inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. My already high anxiety has hit the roof.
If there’s swelling, it’s minor enough that I haven’t noticed, and there’s no reddening, rapid growth, or “orange peel” skin. No nipple inversion or discharge and the breast doesn’t feel hot. And in 2–3 weeks, it hasn’t gotten worse and is very inconsistent. My period started today,
I know breast cancer in someone my age is rare, and this type of cancer is even rarer, but nothing else fits my symptoms. Mastitis occurs most often in those that are breast feeding, and I’ve never even been pregnant. I have gained a bit of weight recently and my bra isn’t fitting as well, but I’m unconvinced that’s the issue here.
I have an appointment on Wednesday with my OBGYN, but I’m scared out of my mind. Most women with IBC are misdiagnosed as an infection, as there’s no lump and it cannot be detected via ultrasound or mammogram – only a breast MRI and punch skin biopsy. What if my doctor just brushes it off as an infection and puts me on antibiotics? Should I demand the biopsy, even with no visible swelling or redness?
In my head, I’ve got this fast-growing cancer that may have already spread, hence my symptoms last month. This has taken over my thoughts and all I’m doing is sitting around stressing about it.
What do you think? Am I crazy or are my concerns legitimate? How can I relax and stop worrying about it for the next few days until my appointment?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.