I would like to offer my thoughts on treatment of inflammatory breast cancer based on my experience and education of the disease. I see many women having chemotherapy followed by a mastectomy with same-day reconstruction, which delays radiation and could allow time for the cancer to grow. Remember, there is a reason for that radiation; it is a very important part of the IBC care protocol. Women often tell me there was no discussion with their cancer team that it might be best to wait for reconstruction, or even if having reconstruction is a healthy option for them.
I am not laying this message out here to get anyone all up in arms that their caregiver is not a good one. I am happy for those sisters who have reconstruction, as long as it is later and not at the risk of their care. In a world of “we are not defined by our cancer” or “my cancer was just a bump in the road” banter, the message for a cancer patient to delay or Heaven forbid, not have reconstruction at all is a hard one to get out. The message is an important one because IBC is a different type of breast cancer and has a different standard of treatment that is based upon how IBC grows and spreads in the body. If your treatment for IBC was not in the order listed or if you had reconstruction while still in treatment, again, that does not mean you are doomed. IBC is a very sneaky disease, and to be best able to beat our cancer we have to understand our cancer.