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Inflammatory breast cancer blocks the lymph vessels in the breast, causing inflammation.
Instead of a lump, most people notice reddening and swelling of the breast that seems to intensify quickly.
It's often mistaken for mastitis — an infection that can accompany breastfeeding, or cellulitis — a bacterial infection.
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, but aggressive type of breast cancer. It accounts for only about one to five percent of breast cancer cases in women and almost none in men.
Anybody can develop inflammatory breast cancer, but certain factors may increase your risk, including:
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Mastitis and cellulitis usually cause fevers, but fever is not a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. If you're being treated for mastitis or cellulitis — and the treatment isn't working — ask your doctor about inflammatory breast cancer.
Experts at the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program use a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose and screen for breast cancer, including:
If you're diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, treatment will depend on your general health and the results of your tests.
Your doctors and other specialists at the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program will work with you to consider your options and determine a course of action.
In many cases, we may also recommend additional therapies before (neo adjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery to control an aggressive cancer or to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Procedures and treatments for breast cancer may include:
||The surgical removal of part of the breast with a cancerous tumor (lumpectomy), breast tissue, or the entire breast. In some cases, lymph nodes are also removed. In rare cases, some of the chest muscles are removed as well.|
|Sentinel lymph node biopsy
||A minimally invasive procedure to remove lymph node tissue in the armpit to check if existing breast cancer is spreading (metastasizing). Women diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer typically undergo a sentinel lymph node biopsy.|
|Axillary lymph node dissection
||Surgery to remove all or a group of lymph nodes in the underarm (axilla), if your sentinel lymph node biopsy is positive for cancer.|
|Additional Breast Cancer Therapies|
||The administration of drugs to destroy the growth abilities of cancer cells. It is sometimes used with radiation therapy.|
||The use of beams of high-energy waves of ion particles to destroy the growth abilities of cancer cells. External radiation therapy directs rays at the tumor from outside a person's body.|
||The use of drugs that stop the production of certain hormones that the cancer needs to grow.|