WEEI>On Demand>>DH - Elizabeth Cummins, 42, breast cancer, Holliston, with Dr. Beth Overmoyer director, Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program, Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers, Dana-Farber

DH - Elizabeth Cummins, 42, breast cancer, Holliston, with Dr. Beth Overmoyer director, Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program, Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers, Dana-Farber

Aug 29, 2016|

Liz Cummins found a thickened area of skin on the bottom part of the breast - it turned out to be edema fluid from cancer cells blocking her lymph nodes. She had an extensive work up to get her diagnosis -including a mammogram, ultrasound, MRI with contrast, skin biopsy and breast biopsy. She was eventually diagnosed in May with inflammatory breast cancer, a very rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Liz is now more than halfway through her chemotherapy, which will be followed by surgery and radiation and she will be on hormone suppressive medication for the next 10 years. Liz hopes to get past her cancer and watch her daughter Claire who is 7 and her son Colin who will be 4, continue to grow up. She also hopes to resume her veterinary practice. Liz came to Dana-Farber because it is 1 of only 2 centers in the United States that specifically treat inflammatory breast cancer She calls her doctor, Beth Overmoyer, the "best of the best!" Dr. Overmoyer launched the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Program at Dana-Farber in 2009, where she continues to serve as the principal investigator of many IBC research programs and clinical trials.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Elizabeth commons breast cancer. Patient from Hollister and doctor Beth over Moyer who I understand like Sander Bogart way more than I do. I I heard about you got there we we had deprived doctor over Moyer away from Zander Bogart's that Everett wash my hands of the I your doctor so I'm gonna. Can do that we'll just pure. Elizabeth let's start with you from Hollister and breast cancer when did you first find out that you were going to be in this journey. I was diagnosed in May not true for months ago. I had two very subtle signs to start with and really just like a thickening of the skim. And went to a couple doctors who actually said no I don't think this is cancer I think it's just skin stuff finally. Got to see somebody the person or Newton Wellesley who by then the changes progressed enough and he realized it was let's come inflammatory breast cancer. Which is a different kind of breast cancers are very rare in someone aggressive form. It's more in the skin it's actually by definition in the lymph nodes when you're diagnosed. So. When he again did that the work up to find that was going on I had ultrasound mammogram. Biopsies all kinds of work up. And when he finally got the answer forming. He said. You know. I'd be fine if you want me to be your surgeon but I would be okay if you wanna go to Dana Farber. And I said okay how do we do that he said call them the sort problem I cold called farmer and started the process. And. And you speak of the process looking forward I saw that. That getting back to your. Your your normal flow of things in your normal flow you are that married threatening. And so. And you also have it was seven year old daughters don't have your daughter and my son before. Next week how long have you been a veterinarian and tell us about that we we love we love and. I'm fifteen years sixteen years now. I work at meet again on medical leave now it's I'm actually in treatment as we speak in doing chemo. Had treatment last week on every week cycle right now. After the chemo two mastectomy and then after that six weeks of radiation so it's just working wasn't gonna. Us. Now get back to some. Duct over more and others there's a stereotype era in fear that doctors make the worst patients. Does that does that extend to veterinarians centenarians are perfect summer extinction we're opinion and advice we try and you'll you'll patients don't talk back. There with a bite me so. Okay that I don't and that's not about platinum I definitely try to avoid yes and how has she been as a nation wonderful wonderful it's tough to go through this because you really unlike. Unlike other types of breast cancer inflammatory breast cancer is. Very aggressive it comes on very quickly and you need to start relatively quickly in terms of its treatment and always give chemotherapy first before surgery. And so. You know loses on a clinical trial now so she's had some biopsy so that we can actually investigate the tissue in the cancer itself and learn more about it. She's really jump through a lot of hoops and where to sort of to really give back. Night in the bio it called beauty principal investigator. At some sort of CSI like doesn't. It just it you know. Breast cancer researches focusing on breast cancer in general. The very rarely do you have the opportunity to have clinical trials designed just for inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer doesn't respond as well as other forms of breast cancer C can't just. Sort of put those people one or two patients into other clinical trials you'll never know what works what doesn't. So our focus at the farmers really to design clinical trials just for inflammatory breast cancer. So that we can learn about it in really optimize the treatment for that disease. So it's investigator just means that. I run it that's all she's in charge. Now Liz I'm sure you've had your own challenges just trying to reconcile this for yourself but. How about explaining it to your in your children and in what is your response. Tom you know I did I talked to a lot of people before especially my seven year old. She's very empathetic Mary. She's incredibly attached to me the four year old. He's just decrease boy I love them but he's not so I'm with Jim it's just I'm not around as much you know Reno when he union and an actor. With her. I talked to the school psychiatrist I talked to a school psychologist I knew I talked to a lot of people are trying to find the best way to tell her in the words to use. And a lot of people repeatedly said was be honest return age appropriate must use the word cancer because she's been here and for her. She actually said to me at one point you know could you die for this promise and I send us from a canoeing had a two hour that you click. And for her at seven that's what she needed to know. That yes mom's gonna get a second and publishing anti of this and that but I have this amazing doctor of all the right medicine and Ayman me okay. On so from her that was switching. You know to be honest and and I didn't want to with a sitter or your mom could die and have me have like to hurt some Clinton and so for me handling it that way I just want it to be honest but not. Too much for her. Doctor that the inflammatory. Breast cancer riches what she has can you. Tell us what distinguishes that and it put it don't be afraid to explain it to us like we'll four years old and so it comes on very quickly most the time people will notice a change in their breast over about a three month period. So the press becomes enlarged inflamed so red. Tender this skin gets very thick and like in Orange peel. So it really can't be found early this isn't something you find my mammogram you relieved to know which your body looks like in CD changes and then get help. And then the biopsy says that this is cancer. So it's different because it comes on so quickly and involves the entire breast. So not just a spot not just a tumor the whole breast in the Skinner involved as wells and now and the treatment is vastly different as well. The treatment is is more. Urgent. Always contains chemotherapy. We're looking for other targets because the targets that we have Morton on inflammatory breast cancer are not as good for inflammatory breast cancer. Because the cells clump together they make balls unlike non inflammatory breast cancer where single cells. So the treatment is not as good for this disease and so that's why we have to investigate. Different air base. Great to visit with you both lives Cummins doctor Beth over Mort don't wash that hand. In fact dander might be waiting out there we are an issue out and only six guys with the last if we don't want don't think it's great to have guys thank you both very much things you.

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