|Inflammatory Breast Cancer Definition:
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), also known as Inflammatory Breast Carcinoma or Inflammatory Carcinoma of the Breast, is a less common but an advanced and accelerated form of breast cancer that is automatically staged as Stage IIIb or IV (within the range of Stage I to Stage IV). IBC is often not detected by mammograms or ultrasounds.
IBC requires quick, aggressive treatment with chemotherapy prior to surgery in order to reduce the size of the breast and eliminate other symptoms before surgery occurs in order to increase the chances of clear margins and a better prognosis. As a result, it is treated differently than more common types of breast cancer where surgery is often performed first.
IBC has a higher risk of recurrence than other types of breast cancer. It is the most aggressive of the various types of breast cancer, but an early diagnosis and quick initiation of treatment improves the chances of long-term survival. Chemotherapy is usually begun within days of diagnosis. With new and upcoming treatment protocols, there is continued increased incidence of long-term survival.
We have all been positively conditioned to the fact that when a woman discovers a lump in her breast she should go to the doctor immediately, BUT how many people know that YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A LUMP TO HAVE BREAST CANCER. Mammograms and Ultrasounds are not enough.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer usually grows in nests or sheets, rather than as a confined, solid tumor; and therefore, it can be diffuse throughout the breast with no palpable mass. The cancer cells can clog the lymphatic system just below the skin. Lymph node involvement is often assumed. Increased breast density compared to prior mammograms should be considered suspicious.
A certain percentage of the women and men who are diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer are initially misdiagnosed. The symptoms are similar to Mastitis, a relatively minor breast infection. Most physicians will prescribe antibiotics to rule out Mastitis. If after a week, the symptoms do not dissipate, a biopsy should be performed.
IBC has been diagnosed in very young women, and many patient members of an international web-based support group for Inflammatory Breast Cancer are young women in their twenties and thirties. A surprising number of these young women were eventually diagnosed during pregnancy or during lactation (breast feeding). While young women normally are at lower risk for breast cancer, the fact that IBC is more aggressive than most forms of breast cancer and IBC has unique signs and symptoms, some of these young women have metastases (spread of the cancer) to distant sites (Stage IV) by the time a diagnosis is made.
Click to view the unique signs and symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
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