Topic: Worried About Inflammatory Breast Cancer? Start here

Forum: Not Diagnosed But Worried — For those who are experiencing symptoms or received concerning test results, but haven't been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Posted on: Mar 19, 2021 01:54PM - edited Jun 17, 2022 09:46AM by moderators

Posted on: Mar 19, 2021 01:54PM - edited Jun 17, 2022 09:46AM by moderators

moderators wrote:

Hi! We know you're here and worrying about a symptom or change to your breast or breasts. You may have found yourself Googling your symptoms, which led you to finding information on inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Before coming to any conclusion, we hope you can take a deep breath, and read below from the main Breastcancer.org site's section on Inflammatory Breast Cancer:

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare form of breast cancer that usually starts with the reddening and swelling of the breast instead of a distinct lump. IBC tends to grow and spread quickly, with symptoms worsening within days or even hours.

The average age at diagnosis for inflammatory breast cancer in the United States is 57 for white women and 52 for Black women. These ages are about 5 years younger than the average ages at diagnosis for other forms of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, inflammatory breast cancer is more common in Black women. A 2008 study found that being overweight makes a person more likely to develop IBC. Like other forms of breast cancer, IBC can also affect men.

Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Although most breast cancers begin as lumps or tumors, inflammatory breast cancer usually starts with a feeling of thickness or heaviness in the breast. You also may develop red, inflamed skin on the breast. IBC tends to grow in the form of layers or "sheets" of tissue, which doctors sometimes call "nests."


The breasts swell and become inflamed because the cancer cells clog the vessels that carry lymph. Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that transports white blood cells and removes bacteria and proteins from the tissues.

Common symptoms of IBC include:

  • Redness of the breast: Redness involving part or all of the breast is a hallmark of inflammatory breast cancer. Sometimes the redness comes and goes.
  • Swelling of the breast: Part of or all of the breast may be swollen, enlarged, and hard.
  • Warmth: The breast may feel warm.
  • Orange-peel appearance: Your breast may swell and start to look like the peel of a navel orange (this is called "peau d'orange").
  • Other skin changes: The skin of the breast might look pink or bruised, or you may have what looks like ridges, welts, or hives on your breast.
  • Swelling of lymph nodes: The lymph nodes under your arm or above the collarbone may be swollen.
  • Flattening or inversion of the nipple: The nipple may go flat or turn inward.
  • Aching or burning: Your breast may ache or feel tender.

Some of these symptoms are similar to those caused by mastitis, a breast infection that can occur in women who are breastfeeding. Unlike inflammatory breast cancer, however, mastitis usually causes a fever and is easily treated with antibiotics. If you are diagnosed with mastitis that is not responding to treatment, ask your doctor about testing for inflammatory breast cancer. The same holds true if you are told you have cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection of the breast skin. Any persistent breast changes should be looked at by a breast specialist.

For more information, see Inflammatory Breast Cancer and Benign Breast Conditions.

More resources:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis/types-of-breast-cancer/inflammatory-breast-cancer.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20355413


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Jun 28, 2021 12:42PM moderators wrote:

Hi vans671, We're sorry you are having these issues. Seems like what will be important is to find a good doctor locally with whom you can talk to about all this. Do you have a family history of breast cancer?

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Jun 28, 2021 02:53PM vans671 wrote:

Breast cancer runs on both sides but no one from my immediate family.

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Jun 28, 2021 04:37PM moderators wrote:

Maybe that would be an angle you could take as well, to share that information. We hope you can find a doctor you can trust and who will help you with your concerns. Medicating

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Jun 30, 2021 11:18PM Neena062487 wrote:

hello, Im 27 years old and I’m wondering If anyone can ease my mind or just straight up tell me the truth. It’s been almost a month since I’ve had these symptoms but to be honest I never really remembered the small details of my boobs so now that there is an issue and I’ve been studying every detail of them I don’t know if these are new details or old ones I never noticed before.

First started that I noticed I was having discomfort when wearing a bra. I would be scratching at my nipple all day on my right boob , moving my boob around. My nipple was so sensitive, i had some cloth slightly rub against it and it made me cringe. So I stopped wearing a bra that day. Also the back of my bra was bothering my shoulder blade/ back on the same side. So I kept trying to scratch my back. It felt almost like a creepy crawl feeling like something was crawling on my back. So all this was accompanied by random sharp pain/itchy boob/itchy like under my armpit area. Also pain in my mid upper back next to my shoulder blade. It almost felt like it was my posture. I have no insurance so I went to a cheap clinic and the OBGYN doctor came to the conclusion that my bra was too tight, and that I pulled a muscle in my back. She sent me home with ibuprofen 800mg and sent me to get an ultrasound, I’ll continue in another post

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Jun 30, 2021 11:28PM Neena062487 wrote:

so I had my US and it came back negative , they didn't see anything. Which of course I was relieved but this was only a week after symptoms started and they were still going on. So it took a week to get my US results and so I've kind of waited another week to see if my symptoms go away and they haven't. My breast is still itchy, I've noticed maybe a slightly different shape in my breast but again idk , I noticed a slight indentation by my nipple but I can't tell if it's a dimple or a mark but that's to me for sure is different. I've noticed a more prominent blue vein going into my nipple, I've noticed a bunch of red spidery veins in my breast , I developed a yellow bruise on the side of breast. I haven't had any swelling from what I can tell but I did take a pic and I see more prominent holes like the peau , but it wasn't like any pics I've seen on the internet , i guess my main issue is if I don't have IBC why is my breast so itchy, sharp pain, pins and needle feeling in my nipple. I'm not pregnant , but Im still waiting on my june period , last had my period may 2nd. I also had pain going from my sternum under my breast stretching to my back almost like in my bone. That went away but it was there after my US. Again there's so many things going on but I don't even know if they're related. I'm seeing another OBGYN for a second opinion tomorrow 9am. Wish me luck

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Jul 1, 2021 10:16AM moderators wrote:

Neena, welcome to Breastcancer.org! You can read some helpful tips on Getting a Second Opinion at the main Breastcancer.org site, including why, where and when to get them, and what to expect. We know it's hard not to worry, but benign breast changes are very common in young women. Hope this is nothing serious and you get better soon!

Best wishes,

The Mods

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Jul 5, 2021 01:49AM Neena062487 wrote:

thank you. The doctor told me I could possibly have IBC and wanted to set me up to do a mammogram and talk to a breast specialist but as I was leaving she changed her mind and told me she thinks I have internal shingles. I was put on medication for 10 days and I get my results tomorrow. If there’s no shingles she is going to have me go ahead with a mammogram.

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Jul 13, 2021 05:03PM - edited Jul 14, 2021 11:04AM by sommerwinters

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Aug 20, 2021 11:05PM grammytotheboys wrote:

11 years post IDC HER 2 + 1c grade 3 left side, chemo, rad and taxol. Today I noticed same breast is very pink, warm and a little swollen. Any thoughts

Dx 1/10, IDC 1.7 cm, stage 1c, gr 3, 0/9, er, pr, her2 all + Dx 1/2010, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+,
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Sep 8, 2021 04:41AM komg wrote:

Hi all 8 weeks ago my left breast grew more than a cup size larger than the right. I have no other breast symptoms. I'm 37 with 2 kids. I immediately went to multiple doctors who told me i don't have IBC based on physical exam and i had an ultrasound done which came up clear except for a small cyst.

The lymph node on under my chin on the left is swollen for 4 weeks and so is the one above my collarbone which i only noticed maybe a week ago. I got my COVID shot on the 28th.

I have another doctor appointment tomorrow and i am so scared


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