Jefferson University Hospitals

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

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Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare form of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer is treatable and is called "inflammatory" because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin over the breast, giving the breast a swollen and reddened appearance.

Inflammatory breast cancer is considered locally advanced and accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. This kind of cancer, also known as invasive ductal carcinoma, is mostly developed from cells that line the milk ducts of the breast and then spread beyond the ducts. Inflammatory breast cancer is treated differently than other breast cancers.

Early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms

  • Breast swelling, with increase in size or thickening, can occur within days
  • Breast discoloration — can appear reddened, bruised or dark
  • Skin may have ridges or appear pitted (like the skin of an orange)
  • Pores of the skin can appear more prominent
  • Nipple changes — flattened or retracted (turning in of the nipple)
  • One breast warmer to touch than other one
  • Persistent itching
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes under arm or above collarbone
  • Suspected infection by primary doctor
  • Symptoms persist after a week on antibiotics

Schedule an Appointment

If you have any of these symptoms, are newly diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer or if you are seeking a second opinion for treatment, call Jefferson Health at 1-800-JEFF-NOW (1-800-533-3669).