When Rebecca Hockaday found what looked like a "colored freckle" on her body she didn't give it much thought. The then 35-year-old mother of 2 was busy looking after her family and their farm, so she waited months before getting a doctor to look at the spot. By then, it had multiplied into a nasty rash.
"There was just one, and then two, and I had a bunch more that showed up all at once," she told Fox News, "and that's when I thought, 'Okay, this is time.'"
Her doctor took a biopsy of the rash, and the results came back with some awful news that Hockaday was definitely not expecting.
It turns out Hockaday had Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a rare and hard to diagnose form of the disease. One of Hockaday's doctors called it "one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer that we know of."
Unlike most kinds of breast cancer, the inflammatory version doesn't show up as a lump on the breast or in regular screenings.
It also shows up in younger women, like Hockaday. During the 6 months she waited before seeing a doctor, the disease took hold in Hockaday's body and caused serious damage.
It took a round of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and a round of radiation twice a day to finally cure her.
Hockaday wants other women to learn the signs of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, so they won't be blindsided like she was.
- a warm, red, itchy rash on the breast
- an "orange peel" consistency to the skin
- one breast swelling or feeling heavier than the other
Five years after her diagnosis, Hockaday is doing well, but says her disease gave her a new perspective on life.
"I learned how to enjoy my family, I learned how to enjoy life itself. Seize every opportunity," she said.
Share her warning with someone you know!