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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Dec 27, 2021 09:20PM Betsy1234 wrote:

sorry about your symptoms. My symptoms are different. I gave a huge black and blue bruise above my nipple. I noticed it Christmas morning in the shower. I haven't seen a doctor yet.

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Dec 31, 2021 09:11PM Keebs wrote:

Was wondering what your update was?

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Jan 1, 2022 12:01AM minustwo wrote:

Keebs - I responded on the other thread you started. You didn't state your age. You've had clear mammos. If you are still concerned, you should go see your OB/Gyn for a physical check.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Feb 28, 2022 01:12PM patrn10 wrote:

Hi everyone

Why is it when articles list conditions that may mimic IBC, Breast/trunk lymphedema is never mentioned?

I have not had any lymphedema on my surgical/radiated breast for 6 years. Have had discomfort, swelling in that breast for a couple of weeks and was exacerbated by long plane flights last week. I know lymphedema can pop up at any time, but I have most of the symptoms of IBC. I messaged my Med. Onc and will set up an appt if no better in a few days with the usual treatments but it is just so frustrating that this is never mentioned.

Was anyone else diagnosed with lymphedema-like symptoms? (No swelling in my arm at all)


Pat: Dx age 52, ER 25%, PR 25% , Oncotype score 23 Dx 4/9/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2015 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Radiation Therapy 7/19/2015 Whole breast: Breast Chemotherapy 10/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 10/29/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 11/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/10/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Feb 28, 2022 07:12PM minustwo wrote:

Pat - yes, lymphadema can occur at any time - even 35 years after your surgery or radiation. Yes, I have breast & truncal LE - basically no arm involvement. I've just started working with a certified/trailer LEPT again.

I agree - not enough people know about or talk about LE. Since you're 6 years out, for your peace of mind - unless you've still having regular doc appointments - I'd call & make one with your MO. Good luck

Lots of valuable information on this thread. http://www.stepup-speakout.org/


2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Mar 1, 2022 10:59AM patrn10 wrote:

Thanks, Minus two!

Pat: Dx age 52, ER 25%, PR 25% , Oncotype score 23 Dx 4/9/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2015 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Radiation Therapy 7/19/2015 Whole breast: Breast Chemotherapy 10/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 10/29/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 11/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/10/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Mar 1, 2022 11:07AM patrn10 wrote:

I guess my question is not who has lymphedema; but did anyone have IBC misdiagnosed as lymphedema?

To me, the symptoms are very similar.


Pat: Dx age 52, ER 25%, PR 25% , Oncotype score 23 Dx 4/9/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2015 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right) Radiation Therapy 7/19/2015 Whole breast: Breast Chemotherapy 10/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 10/29/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 11/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/10/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)

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