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Inflammatory Breast Cancer

What you need to know about this aggressive rare disease

Generally when most women think of breast cancer you think of a lump in the breasts. We are trained to do breast self exams and look for lumps in the breast, but you don’t have to have a breast lump to have breast cancer. There are other symptoms of breast cancer to be aware of. Inflammatory Breast Cancer ( IBC ) is an aggressive and rare form of breast cancer that has different symptoms other than a breast lump. The reason the disease is referred to as Inflammatory Breast Cancer is because the breasts have an inflamed appearance. This type of breast cancer develops very quickly and can also spread rapidly to other areas of the body.

 According to the National Cancer Institute Inflammatory Breast Cancer accounts for 5 percent of breast cancer cases. Because it such a rare form of breast cancer IBC can often be misdiagnosed as it is not commonly seen in most Doctors offices. Sometimes the outward appearance on the breast can resemble a bug bite irritation, allergic reaction, skin irritation or even shingles inflammation.

Symptoms of IBC

Some basic symptoms to watch for are:

  • The appearance of the breast is inflamed
  • An noticeable increase in breast size (it can increase one or two bra cup sizes in days)
  • Redness or a bruised color to the breast
  • The breast feels hot to touch
  • Persistant itching on the breast
  • Aching of the breast
  • A change in the texture of the skin on the breasts sometimes thickening or resembling an orange peel
  • The nipple retracts inward (inverted nipple)
  • Nipple discharge
  • Change in color of areolar
  • In addition to the other symptoms, swollen lymph nodes may be present which may or may not be associated with IBC      

IBC Patients

According to the National Cancer Institute, African American women can have IBC younger then Caucasian women and women of other ethnicities. Men can also have inflammatory breast cancer, but they generally don’t get it until they are older. 

Method of detection of IBC

Generally, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is diagnosed by a medical professional’s clinical examination, a mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy.

Treatments for IBC

Chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiation therapy and hormonal therapy are used to treat Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The order and type of treatment varies depending on the stage of the breast cancer and the individual patient.

Be Aware

In addition to looking for breast lumps women need to be aware of the other symptoms of breast cancer. A big part of breast health is preventative maintenance and early detection of any changes in the breasts. Consult your personal physician for advice on what is best for you. It is always wise to seek a second opinion if you have any concerns that you may or may not have inflammatory breast cancer.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace healthcare advice or suggest medical advice. This info should not be used for diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you have any concerns about your breast health consult your medical doctor in person for a diagnosis and treatment. Thebreastexpert.com website does accept responsibility for the misuse of this information.

 


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