One evening I leaned over to look at something my husband was reading on his computer. As I touched his back, my left breast felt extremely sore. After doing a self-exam of my breast it appeared red and swollen. The next day I visited my gynecologist who immediately recommended me to a local imaging center for a mammogram. On June 6, 2013 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The imaging center said I had little to no chance of survival. Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive disease with symptoms that include redness, swelling, tenderness and warmth in the breast. Inflammatory breast cancer accounts for 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States.
My husband sat in the waiting room numb and in disbelief with my diagnosis
My husband sat in the waiting room numb and in disbelief with my diagnosis. I received annual mammograms, exercised, ate healthy and always had a positive attitude about life. I taught nutrition for several years and presently teach courses on Attaining the Mental Edge at a local Pittsburgh college. How could someone who tried to do everything right to prevent breast cancer be diagnosed with this devastating disease?
My tumor started as an eight-by-seven centimeter mass in my left breast. I was shocked. There is no breast cancer in my family history and I was receiving periodic mammograms. However, inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. When you are diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer it’s typically at stage 3 or 4.
Dr. Thomas Julian, a surgical oncologist and breast cancer specialist at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), part of the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network, informed me about a clinical trial underway at the hospital of an investigational drug for inflammatory breast cancer, called Neratinib, that targets and blocks proteins that help cancer cells to grow.
Once accepted and enrolled in the clinical trial, the results of the treatment were almost immediate for me
Once accepted and enrolled in the clinical trial, the results of the treatment were almost immediate for me. On July 17, 2013, I was informed the tumor in my breast was nearly gone. After weeks/months of receiving chemotherapy, radiation and having a mastectomy, I was declared cancer free.
I founded the Glock Foundation to raise funds and inform breast cancer patients how significant and possibly lifesaving participating in a clinical trial can be upon their diagnosis. There is more oversight in a clinical trial than the standard care protocol. This process not only saved my life but could save the lives of so many other breast cancer patients.
Research by Allegheny General Hospital breast surgeon Thomas B. Julian has had a dramatic and lasting impact on all women, helping make breast cancer more preventable and survivable, and making treatment easier and less invasive.
Antonios Christou, MD, FACP, practices medical oncology at Allegheny Health Network and is based at Allegheny General Hospital. Prior to joining AGH, Dr. Christou was employed with a private multi-specialty oncology and hematology practice in Milwaukee. He earned his medical degree from the University of Athens in Greece and he completed an Internal Medicine Residency at 251 General Air Force Hospital in Athens.
Mark Trombetta, MD, FACR, is nationally and internationally known for his work in making radiation treatments easier, less toxic and more effective for cancer patients.
A radiation oncologist at Allegheny Health Network’s Cancer Institute, Dr. Trombetta has led the health network in the development of numerous new treatment modalities and innovations.
Ms. Schaad received a BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh, summa cum laude, in 1979. In 2012, she earned a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chatham University. She has been certified as a wound specialist by the American Board of Wound Management since 1999.
Carol Glock, M.Ed. founder and president of Glock Foundation is a graduate of Carlow University in psychology and education and obtained her master’s degree in Health Education from the Pennsylvania State University. She conducts various hospital, community health, sports and wellness education classes.
Julie has been doing great work with MARC USA for more than seven years. As Associate Director, Interactive Program Management, she oversees and guides a wide breadth of interactive marketing projects including web, mobile app, text messaging, social channels and email.
Tim is a graduate of Brentwood High School. He attended Carnegie Mellon University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. He also has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Rachel Wiggins, P.E. is a volunteer with the Glock Foundation. She is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering and Minor in Urban Studies. She works as a Senior Federal Planner for Michael Baker International and spends her spare time working with the Glock Foundation and advocating for rare disease patients.
Receiving a Bachelors Degree in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University, Diane went on to become Assistant Head Nurse at Beaver Valley Geriatric Center. She pursued a career in Coronary Care and became Assistant Director of Nursing at Heritage Valley Health System (HVHS).
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