When Jennifer Cordts noticed a red spot that looked like a sunburn on her breast two years ago, she thought it’d be best to get a mammogram — just in case. The test came back normal, and she was told that the issue was she needed a bigger bra, she told WFAA, a Dallas-Fort Worth news station.
Like any mom with access to the internet, she Googled her symptoms when the red spot didn’t go away. The first result to come up was IBC, or inflammatory breast cancer. “Everybody was asleep, and I was terrified,” she told WFAA.
She went back to her doctor for a biopsy and her suspicions were quickly confirmed: She had stage four IBC. When the doctor told her, all she could think about was the fact that her Google search said no one survives this kind of cancer.
IBC looks different than other kinds of breast cancer, which is why doctors didn’t catch it with a mammogram. Women with IBC rarely never develop the stereotypical lump that most women with breast cancer do, Dr. Marleen Meyers, a medical oncologist at NYU’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, told Health. (Meyers has not treated Cordts.)
Although this type of breast cancer only makes up one to five percent of all breast cancer diagnoses in the U.S., that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Cordt was given between three and five years to live, and she hopes her story can be a warning for other women to educate themselves.
Cordt plans to spend the rest of her life checking things off her bucket list. She’s already gonet o a Celine Dion concert and taken her daughter to the beach for the first time.
“I really want this to educate,” Cordt said. “I really want someone to go ‘Oh my gosh I have redness in my breast. I better … push past the mammogram and ask for some more tests.’”
For starters, women should remember that lumps aren’t the only indicator for breast cancer. Other symptoms of IBC include pitted or ridged skin, rapid breast growth, breast heaviness or tenderness, or inverted nipples. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, go get yourself checked out.