Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer that typically grows rapidly and spreads quickly to other parts of the body. It is called "inflammatory" because the cancer cells cause the breast to appear red, swollen, and inflamed. Unlike other types of breast cancer, IBC doesn't usually cause a distinct lump or mass.

Symptoms of IBC can include:

  • Redness, swelling, and warmth in the breast
  • Breast that feels heavy or full
  • Skin that appears thick, pitted, or ridged (like an orange peel)
  • Pain or tenderness in the breast
  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone
  • Inverted nipple or other changes in nipple appearance

Because IBC is often difficult to diagnose, it's important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. If your doctor suspects IBC, they will likely order imaging tests and a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for IBC typically involves a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Because the cancer is usually advanced at the time of diagnosis, treatment is usually aggressive and may involve multiple types of treatment given simultaneously. Patients with IBC often require long-term follow-up care to monitor for recurrence and manage any side effects of treatment.