Mammography is still the gold standard when it comes to detecting breast cancer, but as one local woman found out, there's a type of breast cancer it doesn't spot.
It's not a chore for Becky Knott to to teach first graders at Logan Elementary School the difference between the "ch" sound and the "sh" sound. Her real challenge came three years ago after her routine mammogram---her seventh.
She remembers, "the tech commented that she thought there was a difference in how everything felt and the mammogram was normal, but she wrote on it , asking the doctor to plesae look at it again."
The doctor took a look, was unsure , and sent Becky to a surgeon, who decided to do a biopsy.
"My biopsy was January 27. I turned 47 on January 29, and I found out it was positive on January 30th," she says.
Doctors diagnosed inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare and aggressive form of the disease, that doesn't show up as a lump.
Instead symptoms include redness( Becky's skin was pink), swelling, tenderness, and warmth in the breast. Inflammatory breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in younger women and it accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancers.
Becky had never heard of it and had to "google" it to get information.
She underwent the standard treatment for inflammatory breast cancer: chemotherapy to shrink the cancer, before a mastectomy and then radiation and more chemo.
The prognosis for IBC isn't as good as it is for other types of breast cancer, but thanks to an alert and caring mammography tech Becky's was caught early.
"I think she saved my life," Becky says.
And now Becky's trying to save lives. She's serving as honorary survivor chair of this year's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Blair County Walk.
It takes place Saturday October 5, at People Natural Gas Field in Altoona.