Lumps, dimpling of the skin, changes to the nipple. Most women know the signs to look out for to prevent breast cancer. Texas woman Jennifer Cordts was among those women.
Yet today she has Stage Four. And it’s terminal.
As reported by WFAA, the 46-year-old mother of two has been diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
IBC is a rare and aggressive form of the disease in which the cancer spreads along the lymphatic vessels of the breast skin, rather than forming as a tumour.
Because of this, the disease is generally associated with a dangerously innocuous symptom.
Cordts first noticed the red, sunburn-like discolouration on her breast two years ago. A mammogram showed nothing abnormal, nor did blood tests.
“I was told, crazy enough, that my bra was too small,” she told WFAA.
But despite new bras and, later, a hopeful dose of antibiotics, the rash remained.
Curious and increasingly concerned Cordts turned to Google.
"IBC came up. Inflammatory Breast Cancer,” she said. “It was the first thing that popped up. And it was late at night. Everybody was asleep. And I was terrified. I just had a bad feeling."
A subsequent biopsy confirmed what a mammogram and several physical examinations couldn't - cancer. When doctors delivered the awful news, Cordts said it left her breathless.
"And all I could think about was what I Googled," she said. "Because what I Googled said everybody dies. That nobody survives. So, I knew my fate right then."
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Treatment has slowed Cordts' cancer down, but nothing will stop it. Eighteen months ago, she was given a prognosis of three to five years.
"I wouldn't be truthful to you or anybody else if I didn't say I was sad. And maybe a little mad. But mostly sad," she told WFAA.
“I'm not necessarily afraid to die but I'm very afraid to say goodbye."
Lately, she's focused on creating memories for her beautiful family and public awareness of her disease.
"I really want this to educate," she said. "I really want someone to say, 'Oh my gosh, I have redness in my breast. I better push past the mammogram and ask for some more tests.'"
For more information on IBC, visit the Cancer Australia website here.