Inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a specific type of breast cancer that involves the skin of the breast. It occurs when breast cancer cells form “nests” and block the lymphatic drainage in the skin of the breast.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness, tenderness, and warmth.
  • Thickening of the skin of the breast (orange peel appearance).
  • Rapid breast enlargement.
  • Ridging of the skin of the breast.

Some women may also develop a lump in the breast.

Treatment involves breast surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Because of treatments used now, the 5-year survival rate is higher.

Last Updated: April 23, 2009

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology/Oncology

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