Dr. Susan Niebur

In The News

Inflammatory breast cancer is a particularly deadly variant.  Over half of women who contract it die within 5 years.  I was diagnosed in June 2007, and I’ve been making the most of my time as a mother, an astrophysicist, a wife, a friend, and an advocate that women and their doctors know the signs and symptoms of this sneaky cancer– because with early detection comes a better chance of survival. Inflammatory breast cancer forms in nests and sheets in the lymphatic system of the breast — it’s the breast cancer without a lump — and everyone needs to know the other symptoms and changes in our breasts that could also mean trouble.

Here’s what I tell my friends: Know yourself. If something changes in one of your breasts, lump or no lump, call the doctor. If you’re told it’s mastitis, but it doesn’t heal after a 10-day round of antibiotics, insist on a biopsy “to rule out inflammatory breast cancer.”

Until everyone knows that signs of breast cancer also include a rash, a bug bite that won’t heal, heat, and a funny texture to the skin of the breast that looks or feels a little like an orange peel, I will keep speaking out about my cancer, about what happens when cancer becomes metastatic (the killer of over 90% of breast cancer patients but the recipient of only 3% of the funding), and about the friends that I’ve made through my cancer journey.  I’ve been lucky enough to speak at the annual meetings of the American Cancer Society, Blogalicious, and BlogHer about inflammatory breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and the power of social media.

Speaking out has led to some incredible exposure online, at conferences, and in traditional media. Here is a short listing of  articles published by or about this quest, as well as a few articles on the work I’ve done in planetary science policy.

Media (U.S., Canada, and Australia), including health and science coverage by CNN.com, Health, USA Today, and the Huffington Post:

If you’re writing about breast cancer, lymphedema, planetary science policy, activism in social media, or you’d like to know more about the 20 Mothers With Cancer from around the world, please email me or leave a comment on my Toddler Planet blog and I’ll be happy to talk with you!

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