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Inflammatory breast cancer

Other Names for this Disease
  • Breast cancer, inflammatory
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Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but very aggressive type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This type of breast cancer is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or “inflamed.” [1] There may be no abnormality on amammogram beyond skin thickening, and a lump in the breast may not be felt.  It is crucial to identify the warning signs and clinical symptoms of IBC because a prompt diagnosis and early management can signficantly improve the outcome.  With the advent of multimodality treatments including primary systemic chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, approximately one-third of individuals diagnosed with IBC will become long-term survivors.[2]   Like other types of breast cancer, IBC can occur in men, but usually at an older age than in women. Some studies have shown an association between family history of breast cancer and IBC, but more studies are needed to draw firm conclusions [1].
Last updated: 5/8/2009


  1. Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers. National Cancer Institute. 08/29/2006; Accessed 5/8/2009.
  2. Molckovsky A, Fitzgerald B, Freedman O, Heisey R, Clemons M.. Canadian Family Physician. January 2009; Accessed 5/8/2009.
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Basic Information

  • has a breast cancer guide for patients written by a breast cancer surgeon.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.  Click on the link to view information on this topic. 

In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Inflammatory breast cancer. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

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