A rare type of breast cancer is known as inflammatory breast cancer, often abbreviated IBC, and it is a very aggressive form of cancer, which metastasizes quickly, and presents with symptoms that include redness and swelling around the breast area, as well as a feeling of warmth. Those that have been diagnosed with IBC should enroll in the latest clinical trials, as some of the medicines being tested have had some success and it is important to slow down the spread of cancer as quickly as possible. Of course, you should also follow the recommendation of your doctor and any treatments that he or she prescribes as well.
What Exactly is IBC?
In inflammatory breast cancer, the cancerous cells block the lymph vessels. IBS starts with one cancerous cell in one of the breast ducts and with the changes of its DNA it duplicates quickly.
The grown number of abnormal breast cells accumulate and clog the lymphatic vessels and than all the symptoms start to appear. The reason that this type of cancer is named ‘inflammatory’ is because of the appearance of the area, which looks red, irritated and inflamed. Around twenty percent of breast cancer cases in the United States are of inflammatory breast cancer and often occurs more in African-American women, and occurs in younger age than other types of cancer. Men do sometimes get IBC, but generally only at a much older age than women. Researchers have found links to family history and IBC.
How Do You Know if You Have IBC?
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer will usually include a redness and inflammation around the breast, as well as the warmth discussed earlier. However, it may also present with a lump, but this should not be relied upon, as many cases do not have a lump present. The cancer cells will block the lymph vessels and this is what causes the inflammation. Other symptoms may include ridges on the skin and a pitted appearance, like you would find on the skin of an orange. This is caused by the buildup of fluid in the breast. There may also be heaviness, burning and itching as well as tenderness and swelling in the breast or increase of size. Also, nipple inversion, where it faces inward instead of outward can be a symptom. Sometimes IBC is easily confused with breast cancer, so as soon as you notice skin changes in the breast seek medical advice.
How Can You Be Sure You Have IBC?
The only way to be sure that you have inflammatory breast cancer is to undergo an examination by your doctor. Normally, doctors will conduct tests like a biopsy or a mammogram in order to determine if a patient has breast cancer. Also, breast ultrasounds are used. If cancer is discovered your doctor will explain the stage of your IBC. Since IBC is part of a larger problem it is classified as a stage of breast cancer, falling into stage 3B or stage 4, depending upon how advanced the cancer is, and if it has spread past the breast to other parts of the body.
Treatment of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Treatment varies for cancer, and this is especially true for IBC since it is a very aggressive form of cancer. However, treatment will usually include surgery to remove the cancer cells that are already present, as well as chemotherapy, which is using drugs to combat the cancer, as well as targeted therapy. Radiation treatments may also be necessary to keep the cancer from spreading and your doctor may recommend hormone treatments as well.
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