Inflammatory Breast Cancer
(IBC; Inflammatory Carcinoma of the Breast; Inflammatory Breast Carcinoma)
- African American race
- History of flattening, crusting, or retraction of the nipple
- History of mastitis that doesn't respond to antibiotic treatment
- Family members with breast cancer
- Increased breast density
- Rapid change in the size, shape, or feel of one breast (can occur over days or weeks)
- Discoloration of the breast; breast may appear red, purple, pink, or bruised
- Peau d'orange—an area of the breast that looks like the skin of an orange
- Thickened areas of skin
- Breast feels warm to the touch
- Changes in the nipple, such as flattening, turning in, retracting, or areola color change
- Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm or above or below the collarbone
- Breast pain
- Biopsy (excisional or skin)—a sample of tissue is removed and examined for cancer cells
- PET scan
- CT scan
- Bone scan
- Hormone receptors
- HER2 gene—suggests an aggressive form of cancer
- External radiation therapy—radiation directed at the breast from a source outside the body
- Internal radiation therapy—radioactive materials placed into the breast in or near the cancer cells
Hormone receptors—some cancers have hormone receptors attached to them. Certain drugs can target these receptors to help control or eliminate the cancer. This hormone therapy may include drugs such as:
- Aromatase inhibitor
HER2—Cancers with the HER2 gene tend to be more aggressive. Drugs that may be effective against HER2-positive cancer include:
- Women aged 20 or older may perform a breast self-exam (BSE) every month. Report any changes to your doctor right away.
Women aged 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam by a health professional every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a clinical breast exam every year.
- A breast exam should be done more regularly if there is a family history or there have been previous breast biopsies.
National Breast Cancer Foundation http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Women’s Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Breast cancer in men. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.. Updated August 1, 2012. Accessed January 2, 2014.
Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.. Updated December 16, 2013. Accessed January 2, 2014.
Dawood S, Merajver SD, et al. International expert panel on inflammatory breast cancer: consensus statement for standardized diagnosis and treatment. Ann Oncol. 2011;22(3):515-523.
Inflammatory breast cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002298-pdf.pdf. Accessed January 2, 2014.
Inflammatory breast cancer. National Breast Cancer Foundation website. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/inflammatory-breast-cancer. Accessed January 2, 2014.
Inflammatory breast cancer fact sheet. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/IBC. Updated April 18, 2012. Accessed January 2, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2014 -
- Update Date: 01/02/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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