Sunday, October 07, 2007

Team WhyMommy: Another post to steal

This is the email I have sent to my local TV news stations. Each of them has a health reporter of some kind or another. My theory is that the stations need a new spin on Breast Cancer Awareness month. So why not focus on IBC?

I would encourage you to steal this post, paste in the appropriate call letters where indicated, and send it to the TV stations in your area. We don't need them to do a story on Whymommy specifically, but we do need them to talk about IBC. We need them to help us get the word out there.

So steal it. Edit it. Send it.

Go Team WhyMommy.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I've noticed that enter TV call letters here has always been pretty involved in stories and psa's about breast cancer during that time. Maybe everything is already planned out and such, but I wanted to make sure that you were aware of a little known type of breast cancer where early detection and correct diagnosis is crucial to survival.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is an often fatal type of breast cancer of which most people are not familiar. I only know about it because of a friend who was diagnosed recently. She is a 34 year old mother of 3 year old and 8 month old little boys and a scientist with no family history of breast cancer.

A quick look at IBC from the National Cancer Institute:
By the time women are diagnosed with IBC, it has almost always spread to the skin, making treatment difficult and categorizing it as a late stage metastatic cancer. Chemotherapy is first, followed by a mastectomy, which is followed by radiation. It wasn't long ago that IBC was a death sentence. Advances have been made, and now, "what was once universally fatal is now a disease that results in half of women diagnosed being alive in five years and one-third of women diagnosed surviving 10 or more years." (CNN) Improvements are great, but 50% survival rate? Surely we can do better than that.

Still though, if you ask 100 people, even 100 women, about IBC, it is likely that only 10 of them will have even heard of the disease. There aren't big drives for awareness or research due to the low percentages of breast cancer cases that are IBC, and also the fatality rate. It is hard to convince companies to invest in research on a disease that has such a high fatality rate. Not really a profit building move for them to make.

But it's out there. And women are dying from it because they don't seek help soon enough. Even doctors misdiagnose IBC as breast infections, delaying that necessary treatments weeks or even months. Early detection and immediate treatment is always a matter of life or death with IBC.

A group of bloggers and friends have been trying our best to spread the word about IBC. Let women know that you don't have to have a lump to have breast cancer. There is a team of over 100 bloggers dedicated to getting the word out about IBC and supporting my friend through her journey. She has written a psa about IBC which has been reposted over 350 times across the internet, resulting in most recently having the story picked up by Parents magazine for their October issue. The best place to start tracking where all we have reached is on Toddler Planet, her blog. I've linked you straight to the media page.

She goes by the name WhyMommy on the internet, trying to save some anonymity for her family. Team WhyMommy is the group of over 100 bloggers who offer her daily support by commenting on her blog, sending emails, gifts, and with local friends organizing playdates, house cleaning, and meals.

I know this is long, and if you are still with me, thanks. The point is though, that people need to know about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Women need to know that what appears as a breast infection isn't always a breast infection. They need to know that you don't have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

I'll leave you with a few more links to get more information. If you can, please please make sure that in all of insert your station's call letters here coverage this month on breast cancer, that at least once, make sure that someone mentions IBC. You literally could save lives.

WhyMommy's PSA

IBC Symptoms

DC Metro Moms

Other news coverage

Thank you for your time and coverage on this incredibly important topic. Hopefully your station will be helping to get the word out about IBC. October is the perfect month to do it!