Inflammatory Breast Cancer – The Killer Cancer in Young Women!
Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive of all these cancers in which a tumor of any size has spread to the breast skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes (located beneath the breast right under the ribs, inside the middle of the chest). This is a very uncommon but very serious, aggressive type of cancer.
The most distinguishing feature of this cancer is redness involving part or all of the breast. The redness feels warm. You may see puffiness of the breast’s skin that looks like the peel of a navel orange (“peau d’orange”), or even ridges, welts, or hives caused by a buildup of fluid and edema (swelling) in the breast.. And part or all of the breast may be enlarged and hard. A lump is present only half of the time. This cancer is sometimes misdiagnosed as a simple infection.
Inflammatory breast cancer, although rare, is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or “inflamed.” This cancer accounts for 1 to 5 percent of all cancer cases in the United States. It tends to be diagnosed in younger women compared to non-inflammatory breast cancer. It occurs more frequently and at a younger age in African Americans than in Whites.
Like other types of cancer, inflammatory breast cancer can also occur in men, but usually at an older age than in women. Other symptoms include heaviness, burning, aching, increase in breast size, tenderness, or a nipple that is inverted (facing inward). These symptoms usually develop quickly-over a period of weeks or months. However, it is important to note that these symptoms may also be signs of other conditions such as infection, injury, or other types of cancer.
Diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer is based primarily on the results of a doctor’s clinical examination . Biopsy, mammogram, and breast ultrasound are used to confirm the diagnosis. This cancer is classified as either stage IIIB or stage IV . Stage IIIB cancers are locally advanced; stage IV cancer is cancer that has spread to other organs. Inflammatory breast cancer tends to grow rapidly, and the physical appearance of the breast of patients with this cancer is different from that of patients with other stage III cancers.