Inflammatory Breast Cancer : Signs

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, fast-growing cancer that requires immediate treatment. It causes symptoms similar to a breast infection. Signs of IBC may include redness, swelling, pain, enlargement of one breast và breast skin that resembles an orange peel. Treatments include chemotherapy, surgery & radiation.

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Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms include changes to lớn your breast skin & nipple.

What is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare type of cancer that spreads quickly. Unlike most breast cancers, IBC doesn’t usually cause lumps in breast tissue. Instead, it appears as a rash, creating skin texture on the affected breast similar to an orange peel. IBC causes pain, redness, swelling & dimpling on the affected breast.

IBC results when cancer cells block lymph vessels — the small, hollow tubes that allow lymph fluid to lớn drain out of your breast. The blockage leads to inflammation, causing symptoms that make it easy khổng lồ mistake IBC for an infection.

IBC grows fast and requires immediate treatment. Healthcare providers usually treat IBC with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

Who is likely khổng lồ have inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Anyone can develop inflammatory breast cancer, but certain factors may raise your risk.

Gender: IBC can affect people of all genders, but it’s more common in women & people assigned female at birth (AFAB).Age: People with IBC tend to lớn be younger than people with other forms of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women và people AFAB who are younger than 40. The median age of diagnosis is 57.Race: People who are black are more likely to lớn get diagnosed with IBC than people who are white.Weight: People with obesity or overweight are more likely to lớn get diagnosed than people with a BMI that falls within the normal range.

How often does inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) occur?

Inflammatory breast cancer occurs at different rates worldwide. It’s most common in North Africa. It accounts for as few as 4% of breast cancer cases in Tunisia & up to 11% of breast cancer diagnoses in Egypt. IBC is rare in the United States, making up only 1% to 5% of breast cancer cases.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the first signs of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Inflammatory breast cancer can be challenging to catch because it doesn’t often cause a lump like more common forms of breast cancer. Instead, the first signs are related to lớn inflammation (redness, swelling, pain) in your affected breast. These symptoms make it easy khổng lồ confuse IBC for a less serious condition, lượt thích an infection.

What are the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Symptoms of IBC progress quickly, over three to lớn six weeks, & may include:

Areas of discoloration (red, pink or purple), a bruise or rash spread over one-third of your breast.Dimpling, pitting or thickening of your breast skin that resembles an orange peel.Pain, swelling, itchiness, firmness or tenderness in one breast.Warmth, burning, heaviness or enlargement of one breast.Inverted or retracted nipple (a nipple that points inward).

What causes inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Most inflammatory breast cancer is considered invasive ductal carcinoma. “Ductal” carcinoma is cancer that forms from cells lining your milk ducts. An “invasive” ductal carcinoma is cancer that spreads beyond your milk ducts, invading healthy tissue. Researchers don’t know what causes these cells to lớn become malignant (cancerous).

Inflammatory breast cancer develops when cancer cells block lymph vessels. Lymph vessels are hollow tubes in your lymphatic system that allow lymph fluid khổng lồ drain out of your breast. The blockage causes your breast to lớn become red, swollen và inflamed. In most cases of IBC, cancer cells spread outward (metastasize) from your lymph vessels. Cancer that has metastasized affects your other organs and is harder to lớn treat.

Diagnosis và Tests

How is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) diagnosed & staged?

Inflammatory breast cancer is rare, with symptoms similar to lớn a more common condition — breast infections (mastitis). Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics and see if it resolves your symptoms to lớn rule out an infection. If they suspect IBC, they’ll order a biopsy lớn confirm the diagnosis & additional tests khổng lồ see if the cancer’s spread beyond your breast.

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Diagnosing inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)

Diagnosis involves a physical examination, imaging studies and a biopsy.

Physical exam: Lumps don’t usually khung with inflammatory breast cancer, making the condition hard to diagnose. In some cases, your healthcare provider may rule out conditions that may cause similar changes to lớn your breast’s appearance, lượt thích mastitis.Staging inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)

Biopsy results can help your healthcare provider stage the cancer, or determine whether it’s spread outside of your breast tissue. By the time IBC is diagnosed, it’s either stage III or stage IV. Stage III cancer has only spread to your breast tissue skin. Stage IV cancer has spread khổng lồ other organs.

Your healthcare provider may order any of the following tests lớn determine if your cancer’s spread:

Bone scan: A bone scan uses a small amount of a radioactive substance to provide images of your bones. These images can show parts of your bone that have been damaged, potentially due khổng lồ cancer spread.

Management và Treatment

How is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) treated?

Inflammatory breast cancer treatments use a combination of chemotherapy, surgery & radiation.

Depending on the characteristics of your cancer cells (discovered during the biopsy), you may receive treatments like targeted therapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy.

Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you take part in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a study that tests the safety and effectiveness of new cancer treatments. Treatments that are successful in clinical trials often become the standard treatment approaches.

What complications are associated with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Treatment for IBC may cause complications, such as lymphedema (pooling of lymphatic fluid) after surgery removing your lymph nodes.

Because IBC develops so quickly, the cancer has usually spread to lớn other tissues (metastasis) by the time it’s diagnosed. You may need additional treatments if the cancer spreads to lớn other parts of your body.


Can inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) be prevented?

You can’t prevent inflammatory breast cancer. For the best outcomes, seek treatment early. Let your healthcare provider know about any breast changes as soon as possible.

Outlook / Prognosis

How quickly does inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) progress?

IBC is considered a fast-growing (aggressive) cancer. It only takes a few weeks or months to lớn progress. By the time it’s diagnosed, it’s already spread khổng lồ your breast skin, making it at least a stage III cancer.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for people with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

IBC usually develops quickly & spreads khổng lồ other tissues outside of your breast. It often returns (recurs) after treatment. Early diagnosis & treatment are vital to managing the condition as effectively as possible.

Because IBC spreads quickly và is found later than other cancers, the outlook for people with this condition is generally not as good as for different types of breast cancer. Still, some people live many years after an IBC diagnosis. Your healthcare provider can explain your prognosis to you.

Living With

When should I gọi doctor if I am concerned about inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any changes lớn your breast, even if you don’t feel a lump. With further testing, your provider can determine whether IBC may be a concern.

Contact your provider if you’re taking antibiotics for a breast infection — especially if you have the symptoms of IBC — và your symptoms don’t improve within a week.

What questions should I ask doctor?

Ask your healthcare provider about what your cancer diagnosis means for your treatment options & likely outcomes. Questions to ask include:

What stage is breast cancer?Which specialists will be involved in care?What treatment options would you recommend?What outcomes should I expect from treatment?What are potential side effects or complications related lớn treatment?

A chú ý from Cleveland Clinic

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare type of cancer that spreads quickly. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider immediately if you notice changes in your breasts, especially a change in one breast but not the other. The changes may be a sign of a less serious condition, lượt thích an infection. Still, IBC spreads fast. If your symptoms are a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, you’ll want khổng lồ begin treatment as early as possible. Don’t delay seeking care that can potentially improve your prognosis.