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Inflammatory Breast Cance

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that develops when cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in the skin covering the breast. This makes the breast appear reddish, swollen and feels tender. These types of cancer cells develop more rapidly. 

According to research, inflammatory breast cancer is more prevalent in: 

  • Women under the age of 40 years 
  • Black women 
  • Women who are overweight 

Causes of Inflammatory Breast Cancer 

There are no clear causes of inflammatory breast cancer. However, it begins when breast cells develop changes in their DNA. The cell is normally found in one of the ducts that transport milk to the nipple; nevertheless, a cell in the glandular tissue (lobules) where breast milk is generated can potentially become cancerous. In this case, the DNA changes instruct the breast cells to multiply and develop rapidly. The abnormal cells that are accumulating invade and obstruct the lymphatic capillaries in the breast skin. It is the blockage in the lymphatic vessels that makes the skin appear red, swollen, and dimpled. 

Risk Factors of Inflammatory Breast Cancer 

Factors that increase the risk of inflammatory breast cancer include: 

  • Ethnicity: Compared to white women, black women are more likely to get inflammatory breast cancer. 
  • Being a woman: Men can also get inflammatory breast cancer, but women are more likely to be diagnosed with it more than men. 
  • Being younger: The condition is most commonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 40s and 50s 
  • Being obese: compared to people who are of normal weight, obese individuals have a higher risk of developing inflammatory breast cancer 

Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer 

Symptoms associated with inflammatory breast cancer include: 

  • Flattening of the nipple 
  • Enlarged lymph nodes  
  • Unusual warmth of the affected breast 
  • Breast skin changes in other patients 
  • Dimpling on the skin of the affected breast 
  • Thickness, and heaviness of the affected breast 
  • A discoloration that gives the breast a reddish, pinkish, or even battered appearance 

Diagnosis of Inflammatory Breast Cancer 

It can be a challenge to identify inflammatory breast cancer because there typically isn’t a lump to feel or detect on mammography. If a doctor suspects inflammatory breast cancer, any changes in the breast are monitored and a biopsy is performed. 

Treatment of Inflammatory Breast Cancer 

Doctors administer treatments for inflammatory breast disorder in a different approach from other cancers since inflammatory breast cancer is aggressive and its penetration into the breast skin is severe. 

Treatment options include: 

  • Mastectomy and lymph node removal: This is an effective therapy if the cancer responds positively to treatment in that the breast skin shows little to no signs of inflammatory breast cancer. 
  • Chemotherapy: This is normally administered to shrink cancer and ease swelling, which makes it easier for the surgeon to remove the cancer cells. Chemotherapy also reduces the risk of cancer recurring. 
  • Targeted therapy: This is performed at the same time as chemotherapy when the cancer is HER2-positive. 
  • Radiation therapy or a different chemotherapy regimen: This is administered to patients when the cancer has not responded positively to treatment. This means the breast skin shows little or no signs of inflammatory breast cancer symptoms. 
  • Hormonal therapy: Hormonal therapy is given to patients upon completion of all chemotherapy if the cancer is hormone receptor positive. 

 

 

 

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