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13 years ago
Take a look at this Share:

(11 comments) — PEOPLE WHO WAIT AND WATCH DIETime and time again we have heard and read that the early diagnosis of breast cancer saves lives. We are told to do our monthly breast exam, get our mammograms and have an annual breast exam done by our doc. So why when we...  more

13 years ago

Kicka, thank you. Another form of breast cancer is Inflammatory Breast Cancer. My aunt (who died of it this past July) and her daughter (who has survived it for 11 1/2 years so far alerted me to this. Now I have a very dear friend struggling with it.

Please, please take this disease seriously, regardless of your gender. We have way too many environmental hazards working against us today that are either known or suspected of being a cause of the disease. Be prudent. It is your life and the lives of those who love you.

Again, thank you, Kicka.

Please share your all's info and stories here.

13 years ago
Inflammatory Breast Cancer? I will dig more on this one, and see what I find. This is hitting close to home if it is exactly what the name implies.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
13 years ago


There is more than one kind of breast cancer

We have been taught and are reminded frequently by public service announcements and by the medical community that when a woman discovers a lump on her breast she should go to the doctor immediately.

Inflammatory breast cancer usually grows in nests or sheets, rather than as a confined, solid tumor and therefore can be diffuse throughout the breast with no palpable mass. The cancer cells clog the lymphatic system just below the skin. Lymph node involvement is assumed.  Increased breast density compared to prior mammograms should be considered suspicious.

You Don't Have to Have a Lump to Have Breast Cancer

Some women who have inflammatory breast cancer may remain undiagnosed for long periods, even while seeing their doctor to learn the cause of her symptoms.  The symptoms are similar to mastitis, a breast infection and some doctors, not recognizing IBC, will prescribe antibiotics. If a response to antibiotics is not apparent after a week, a biopsy should be performed or a referral to a breast specialist is warranted.

Age 52:  Median age at time of diagnosis of IBC...

A surprising portion of young women with IBC had their first symptoms during pregnancy or lactation.  The misconception that these young women are at lower risk for breast cancer and the fact that IBC is the most aggressive form of breast cancer may result in metastases when the diagnosis is made.

... versus, Age 62: Median age at time of diagnosis of Breast Cancer 

One or more of the following are Typical Symptoms of IBC:

  • Swelling, usually sudden, sometimes a cup size in a few days

  • Itching

  • Pink, red, or dark colored area (called erythema) sometimes with texture similar to the skin of an orange (called peau d'orange)

  • Ridges and thickened areas of the skin

  • What appears to be a bruise that does not go away

  • Nipple retraction

  • Nipple discharge, may or may not be bloody

  • Breast is warm to the touch

  • Breast pain (from a constant ache to stabbing pains)

  • Change in color and texture of the aureole

  • View pictures showing common presentation of some of these symptoms.

  • Read what patients write about their own symptoms prior to diagnosis.

  • View a 4:23 minute video about IBC shown on NBC5 in Chicago.

These Symptoms May Be Present in Benign Breast DisordersSee your doctor if you have any of these symptoms

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is typically abbreviated as IBC.  Non-inflammatory breast cancer may include in its diagnosis the terms "in situ breast cancer," "infiltrating breast cancer," or "invasive breast cancer" all of which may be abbreviated with "ibc," but those terms alone do not specify inflammatory breast cancer.  To add to the possible confusion, the diagnosis may include more that one kind of breast cancer; for example "inflammatory breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma, and mucinous carcinoma" all in the same breast.  So if a person you know has been described as having ibc, it may be well to ask what that is abbreviating, since it may not be "inflammatory breast cancer" and therefore the symptoms and other information presented here may not apply.

What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?
13 years ago

Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon form of rapidly advancing breast cancer that usually accounts for approximately 1% to 3% of all breast cancer diagnoses. Inflammatory breast cancer is a form of invasive breast cancer that progresses quickly and should be differentiated by physicians from other forms of advanced breast cancer with similar characteristics. Inflammatory breast cancer causes the breast to appear swollen and inflamed. This appearance is often caused when cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast, preventing the normal flow of lymph fluid and leading to reddened, swollen and infect-looking breast skin—hence the designation "inflammatory" breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is not caused by infection or inflammation as was once believed.

With inflammatory breast cancer, the breast skin has a thick, pitted appearance that is classically described as peau d’orange (resembling an orange peel). Sometimes the skin develops ridges and small bumps that resemble hives.

How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

The symptoms associated with inflammatory breast cancer are usually the first cause of concern. These symptoms may include:

Inflammatory breast cancer can sometimes be mistaken by patients and physicians as a breast infection (or mastitis) because its symptoms , and the rapidity with which they appear (sometimes within weeks) resemble those associated with infections. However, while most breast infections will respond to antibiotics, inflammatory breast cancer will not. In fact, symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer do not usually get better or worse as infections do. If symptoms persist more than two or three weeks despite treatment, further testing and a breast biopsy should be performed to determine whether cancer is present.

Inflammatory breast cancer is typically classified as Stage III cancer, unless it has spread to the lymph nodes or other body organs. In these cases, it is classified as Stage IV breast cancer, or advanced breast cancer. Click here for more information on breast cancer stages.

How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated?

Inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive cancer that can grow and spread quickly. If the inflammatory cancer has not spread beyond the breast, a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) may be performed to remove the tumor. However, because inflammatory breast cancer involves lymphatic vessels of the skin, mastectomy can increase the chances for the cancer to recur (since the skin is stitched together after mastectomy). Therefore, other treatment options (most commonly, chemotherapy) are usually considered before surgery.

Chemotherapy is treatment with anti-cancer drugs. Chemotherapy is often administered to inflammatory breast cancer patients before local treatment (such as mastectomy or radiation). One common regimen of chemotherapy used to treat inflammatory breast cancer patients is CAF (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and fluorouracil). Researchers are also investigating whether high-dose chemotherapy is effective for treating inflammatory breast cancer. Because high dose chemotherapy causes damage to bone marrow cells, a bone marrow transplant or blood stem cell transplantation may be necessary. After surgery, patients with inflammatory breast cancer are usually treated with additional chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy to the chest wall.

What is the Prognosis for Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Because inflammatory breast cancer is an advanced cancer, it has been associated with a poor prognosis (expected outcome). Past statistics have shown the average survival rate of inflammatory breast cancer to be approximately 18 months. However, recent studies have shown that advancements in treatment may help to extend the survival time for women with inflammatory breast cancer. Using chemotherapy, surgery (mastectomy), and radiation, the average five-year survival rate is currently 40%. Physicians are hopeful that advances in treatment will continue to improve the prognosis for women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.


13 years ago

Additional Resources and References

Updated: April 2005

  • Anne Preston, an inflammatory breast cancer patient, has created a website that provides information on the disease in multiple languages including English, French, German, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese:
  • The National Cancer Institute provides information on inflammatory breast cancer at
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Help Page provides information and support on inflammatory breast cancer at Users may also subscribe in the inflammatory breast cancer support mailing list which was created for women with inflammatory breast cancer and their loved ones.
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Organization is an organization made up of individuals who have been touched by inflammatory breast cancer. The organization provides information and support for women with inflammatory breast cancer at
  • To learn more about advanced breast cancer, please visit
What is Breast Cancer?
13 years ago


The term, breast cancer, refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. The breast is composed of two main types of tissues: glandular tissues and stromal (supporting) tissues. Glandular tissues house the milk-producing glands (lobules) and the ducts (the milk passages) while stromal tissues include fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast. The breast is also made up of lymphatic tissue-immune system tissue that removes cellular fluids and waste.

There are several types of tumors that may develop within different areas of the breast. Most tumors are the result of benign (non-cancerous) changes within the breast. For example, fibrocystic change is a non-cancerous condition in which women develop cysts (accumulated packets of fluid), fibrosis (formation of scar-like connective tissue), lumpiness, areas of thickening, tenderness, or breast pain.

The American Cancer Society estimates that each year nearly 175,000 American women and 1300 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. 43,300 women and 400 men will die from breast cancer this year. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women between 40 and 55 years of age and is the second overall cause of death among women (exceeded only by lung cancer). Fortunately, the mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased in recent years with an increased emphasis on early detection and more effective treatments.

The remainder of this article outlines several forms of breast cancer that may be found in women. Click here to learn more about breast cancer in men.

Non-Invasive Breast Cancer

Cancer cells that are confined to the ducts and do not invade surrounding fatty and connective tissues of the breast.  Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCI is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer (90%).  Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCI is less common and considered a marker for increased breast cancer risk.

Invasive Breast Cancer

Cancer cells that break through the duct and lobular wall and invade the surrounding fatty and connective tissues of the breast.  Cancer can be invasive without being metastatic (spreading) to the lymph nodes or other organs.

LCIS is a sharp increase in the number of cells within the milk glands (lobules) of the breast. Many physicians do not classify LCIS as breast cancer and often encounter LCIS by chance on breast biopsy while investigating an area of concern. LCIS patients are closely monitored every four months with physician performed clinical breast exams in addition to receiving yearly mammography. Other preventive options may also be available for patients with LCIS, including tamoxifen or prophylactic mastectomy (preventive breast removal). Click here to learn more about LCIS.

13 years ago

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCI: DCIS, the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer, is confined to the ducts of the breast. DCIS is often first detected on mammogram as microcalcifications (tiny calcium deposits). With early detection, the five-year survival rate for DCIS is nearly 100%, provided that the cancer has not spread past the milk ducts to the fatty breast tissue or any other regions of the body. There are several different types of DCIS. For example, ductal comedocarcinoma refers to DCIS with necrosis (areas of dead or degenerating cancer cells). Click here to learn more about DCIS.

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC): ILC is also known as invasive lobular carcinoma. ILC begins in the milk glands (lobules) of the breast, but often spreads (metastatizes) to other regions of the body. ILC accounts for 10% to 15% of breast cancers.

Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC): IDC is also known as invasive ductal carcinoma. IDC begins in the milk ducts of the breast and penetrates the wall of the duct, invading the fatty tissue of the breast and possibly other regions of the body. IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of breast cancer diagnoses.

Inflammatory breast cancer is the appearance of inflamed breasts (red and warm) with dimples and/or thick ridges caused by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels or channels in the skin over the breast. Though inflammatory breast cancer is rare (accounting for only 1% of breast cancers), it is extremely fast-growing. Click here to learn more about inflammatory breast cancer.

Paget’s disease of the nipple: A rare form of breast cancer that begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola, Paget’s disease of the nipple only accounts for about 1% of breast cancers. The breast skin may appear crusted, red, or oozing in women suffering from this breast cancer. A woman’s prognosis may be better if nipple changes are the only sign of the breast disease and no lump is felt. Click here to learn more about Paget's disease of the nipple.

Phylloides tumor: Phylloides tumors (also spelled "phyllodes") are can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Phylloides tumors develop in the connective tissues of the breast and may be treated by surgical removal. Phylloides tumors are very rare; less than 10 women die of this type of breast cancer each year in the United States. Click here to learn more about benign phylloides tumors.

  • To learn more about risk factors for breast cancer, please visit
  • Updated: April 2005

    13 years ago
    pinkThank you for sharing Ladeez!
    I am dreading this but won't wait to die...
    13 years ago

    Kicka s Daphne s

  • Swelling, usually sudden, sometimes a cup size in a few days it

  • Itching it

  • Ridges and thickened areas of the skin

  • What appears to be a bruise that does not go away

  • Nipple retraction

  • Nipple discharge, may or may not be bloody it

  • Breast is warm to the touch it

  • Breast pain (from a constant ache to stabbing pains) it 

  • Change in color and texture of the aureole ...

  • (ps; today Friday the 13 my am b/s was 142)

  • DiXie

  • 13 years ago
    Oh, Dixie! Please get it checked out soon.
    I am I am I am I am I am
    13 years ago

    Brandis, the nurse said she will put some pressure on the doc, to get the records from hospital....

    Won't know nothing til then ... (pst! Brandis, said thank you for her - she is soooooo tiny & sweet & CARING)

    I am not in a position to get any rest during the day... that is starting to get to me.... may have to find solo domain again... dang I hate moving.... getting chasing ing my blues away


    Some Good News!!!
    13 years ago


    Yesterday! Yea, holiday... a social worker came out, told me about a state plan that covers having an "attendant"!!

    This attendant will 'work' - however many hours I am alotted; go to the store for me; any store - not just groceries!!!

    This social worker - said that "dad" - could get the same help! His attendant would be totally different ...(Daph, you know!)... now, the "boss" needs to call the phone number the social worker gave him - I will start receiving attendance within 2 weeks.

    "IF", the 'boss' calls, they will receive an attendant within a month., I talked to my Dr Offc; a lady was reading my paper work from the hospital... I have a 600 number on ? triglycerides...then said lady said... she is not "worried" about my 'high' B/G #'s


    13 years ago

    Really good news, Dixie!! Now be sure that breast is also checked out please.

    I'll make another thread on hyperlipidemia. I know it is needed.

    Even better!!!
    13 years ago

    I am going to a womens clinic ~ all female gynos!!!!!!!

    ... getting a letter written also, from the housedocs... for me to get low-income quickly, I cannot care for this situation not caring properly for me (I will tell you honestly, I have tried, done it, hate it, don't want to know, the pain in my left breast... I WANT TO IGNORE IT...*mumbling*... ya'll know I know!)

    Forces are beginning to heal, they must ~ for all of us...

    no yelling... I'm going ~ I promise!!!!!!