Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a very aggressive form of breast cancer that is very different from the other forms of breast cancer and one which is very important to know.
This form of breast cancer is an infrequent form of breast cancer. It accounts for only 1% – 5% of newly diagnosed and newly found breast cancers. As such, thankfully since it is such an aggressive cancer, it is very infrequent.
A key fact to remember with inflammatory breast cancer is that there is usually NO LUMP! A woman with inflammatory breast cancer will not feel a mass or a lump. In inflammatory breast cancer, the whole breast is usually red and warm and the skin of the breast looks thick and dimpled. In fact, the skin of the breast looks so much the way the skin of an orange looks that textbooks describe the way the skin of the breast appears in inflammatory breast cancer as a “Peau d’orange” look – which literally means the “skin of an orange” look.
What this means is that breast cancer has been able to slowly infiltrate the skin of the breast and is spread all through the breast under the skin. This is such, that many times one can make a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer by just taking a punch biopsy of the skin of the breast.
It is very important to know that inflammatory breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and fast moving form of breast cancer. If left alone, this form of breast cancer can be rapidly fatal for the woman – sometimes in as little as three months!
As such, if a woman feels that her entire breast is red, tender, warm to the touch and the skin is thickened, she needs to see a physician right away. It is important to know that a mild infection of the skin of the breast, which is sometimes called a “mastitis” can look just like inflammatory breast cancer. Thus, if your doctor tells you that the skin of your breast is red, tender, warm to the touch and thickened because you have an infection in your breast, please make sure to ask him or her if it is possible that what is happening in your breast is not an infection of the breast but possibly an inflammatory breast cancer. All of these concepts are explained in very easy to understand language in the Breast Cancer audio CD available on the web site

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One Response to “Inflammatory Breast Cancer”

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