Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is aggressive but a rare type of breast cancer.
The cancer starts as an invasive ductal carcinoma, which means the cancer develops from cells that line the milk ducts of the breast. The cancer cells spreads rapidly beyond the ducts in sheets to block the lymph vessels. It is called ' and cause the typical symptoms of a rash on the breast. It is called 'inflammatory' because the breast looks swollen, red and inflamed.
It constitutes only about 1-5% of all breast cancer cases. But it is a particularly aggressive form of cancer and can spread within hours or days of being diagnosed.
Age at Diagnosis
Inflammatory Breast Cancer occurs in somewhat younger women as compared to other types of breast cancer like ductal breast cancer or lobular breast cancer. The average age of diagnosis for inflammatory breast cancer is 52, compared to age 55-57 for the other types of breast cancers. In some women, IBC can occur in quite a young age - the first symptoms may even appear during pregnancy or lactation and may get ignored.
Most inflammatory breast cancers originate from invasive ductal carcinomas.
Like all other types of breast cancers, it can also occur in men, especially in overweight men.
Important Features of inflammatory breast cancer
Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC):
As already noted, the symptoms of Inflammatory breast cancer are very similar to Breast Mastitis. And very often it may be mistaken for this condition. And it has to be emphasized that any mastitis which does not respond to antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines after 1 week of treatment needs to be investigated for inflammatory breast cancer.
Stages of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
This type of cancer is usually in one of three stages:
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