Annie (37 years old) lives on her own. She works as a citizen services officer and is currently on sick leave.
Annie received her diagnosis in 2013. Annie’s symptoms started earlier that year when she noticed that her breast increased in size and then later on it became very painful, red and warm. When she also felt a swollen lymph she started to really wonder what was happening and she decided to go to a walk-in clinic. The doctor told her that it might be an infection but that he suspected that it might be a very rare form of breast cancer as well; inflammatory breast cancer. Annie saw a cancer specialist? in a private clinic on a Monday, three days after seeing the doctor. Over the weekend she had checked the Internet about this form of cancer and she felt very worried as she mostly found these three words: fast, aggressive and deadly. It then took a long month to find out if the cancer has metastasized or not following her biopsy. Fortunately it was not metastatic but stage 3 cancer. Annie then underwent chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and just finished radiotherapy. The surgery was the hardest phase for Annie. She didn’t feel she received the information she needed, such as what kind of care she needed after surgery. Having inflammatory breast cancer at such a young age worries Annie and at the same time she has found that many people don’t know much about her condition and do not understand well what she is going through. Annie therefore became an advocate and distributes information folders about inflammatory breast cancer to help increase the public knowledge. She would like to see that more attention is given to this condition so that women are more aware of the different kind of symptoms women have when they have inflammatory breast cancer. During the treatment, Annie had good support from her parents with whom she stayed while she had her chemotherapy and mastectomy.