How A Mammogram Failed To Detect This Woman's Breast Cancer

While many of us know the importance of checking our breasts for lumps to detect cancer, breast cancer unfortunately doesn't always manifest itself in one of the more common symptoms. After finding discoloration on her breast, Jennifer Cordts went to her doctor and got a mammogram that came back with no sign of breast cancer. According to First Coast News, she was diagnosed with a skin rash — only to find out 11 months later that she had cancer.
Cordts told First Coast News that after her mammogram came back with no abnormalities to report, her doctors said that her bra might have been too small, causing redness on her breast.
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"Everything looked fine," she said.
But even after buying all new bras and taking a prescribed antibiotic, the discoloration didn't go away.
That's when Cordts decided to Google her symptoms out of curiosity.
"IBC came up. Inflammatory Breast Cancer,” she told First Coast News. “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."
Cordts then had a biopsy done, which confirmed that she had stage four breast cancer — 11 months after she initially went to the doctor.
"It took my breath away," she said recalling when the radiologist told her the diagnosis. "I remember him saying inflammatory breast cancer. And all I could think about was what I Googled. Because what I Googled said everybody dies. That nobody survives. So, I knew my fate right then."
Inflammatory breast cancer is relatively rare, accounting for only about 1-5% of all breast cancers in the U.S. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and ridges on the breast. Since IBC develops so rapidly, it's often not diagnosed until its later stages — making chances of survival lower, according to the National Cancer Institute.
According to First Coast News, doctors gave Cordts 3-5 years to live. It's been a year and a half since the diagnosis, and she and her husband are hoping for as much time as possible.
"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 First Coast News.
However, she's hoping that her story will help spread the word about a form of breast cancer that we don't often hear about.
"I really want this to educate," she told First Coast News. "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."
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