13 Jan My ILC Story – Kerri
Many women with lobular breast cancer who have found their way to the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA) after they were diagnosed want to help build a community among peers, to share the most current information about ILC detection, treatment and clinical trials, and to raise awareness about this common yet understudied and sneaky breast cancer that needs more research. Sharing their stories is just one of those ways.
My name is Kerri. I am 49 years old, married to a wonderful, supportive man, and have two beautiful grown-up children. I have worked in the hospitality industry all my life but have taken a step back recently and am working casually at a beautiful golf course on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Due to a family history of breast cancer, I have always had regular mammograms. In March 2018, just after my yearly mammogram, I received a letter advising that my mammogram was clear. In August 2018, whilst showering, I found a small lump at the bottom of my right breast.
I wasn’t overly concerned but went to my general practitioner a few days later who sent me for an ultrasound. When the ultrasound showed up something irregular, I was sent for an MRI and biopsy. The biopsy results showed cancer, and the MRI showed a 2cm lump. I had a lumpectomy.
One week later, I went back to the surgeon. I was not prepared for the news that came. I had Stage 3 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC). This was the most stressful time I can remember and to have to make such life changing decisions was unbearable. I had a double mastectomy.
Afterwards the surgeon told me the tumor in my right breast was over 12.5cm in size. This was not seen on the mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI. The surgeon explained to me about ILC and how it grows like a spiderweb and can be difficult to detect on imaging. I did not know any of this. I thought all breast cancer was the same, and it would be detected on all types of imaging. I thought I was safe having yearly mammograms.
I did a lot of Googling after that and found out as much information as I could about ILC. I was surprised to learn that most breast cancers are all treated the same way, yet ILC is different. That’s how I found the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA) and I’m so thankful for the information I was able to find and the resources that were available to me.
I’ve seen a lot of information around imaging from the LBCA. I would like to see more radiologists trained and specializing in this type of cancer detection. My advice to anyone facing a lobular cancer diagnosis is be kind to yourself, let others help and support you, know that it will be a tough journey, but also know that you can beat it and survive! Never give up!
Would you like to tell others your ILC story? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information on how to submit a story.