Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Updated at: Aug 31, 2012
Symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer: The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer are important for the patients to know as this condition does not cause any lump in the breast that is common in other forms of breast cancer.

Vatsal Anand
MiscellaneousWritten by: Vatsal AnandPublished at: Aug 31, 2012

Inflammatory breast cancer is the type that is not detected by diagnostic tests such as ultrasound or mammogram. The inflammatory cancer advances locally. These are accelerated forms of cancer which account for 2-5 per cent of all breast cancer cases. It is important that patients are aware of the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer as this form of cancer does not show a visible lump. [Read: Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer]


Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms


  • Swelling in breasts – If part of your breasts or the whole of it are enlarged, swollen and hardened, these can be signs of inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Pain in breast – If you have pain in the breast and it feels like some sort of infection, monitor it for a week with antibiotic treatment. If these medicines do not treat the condition, consult a breast specialist and get a breast biopsy if needed to diagnose inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Changed skin appearance – Your breast is swollen and looks like the peel of an orange.
  • Bruise – Bruise on breast that persists.
  • Itching – Itching of breast for apparently no reason.
  • Nipple – Discharge from or inversion of the nipple.
  • Lymph nodes – The lymph nodes below your arm or above your collarbone can get swollen.


Some of the symptoms mentioned above are much similar to another condition of breast known as mastitis. This is a breast infection that occurs in breastfeeding women. For treatment of this condition, antibiotics are used. So, if you are breastfeeding and notice the symptoms mentioned above, try treatment with antibiotics for a week. If your condition does not respond to treatment for a week, get a diagnostic test done for inflammatory breast cancer. [Read: What is the treatment of Breast Cancer?]


If you suffer from cellulitis, the same symptoms can be noticed as well. You should consult with your doctor to learn more about any such changes in the breast. Inflammatory breast cancer is usually listed with the abbreviation IBC. Some other terms for it include “infiltrating breast cancer”, “invasive breast cancer”, and others. All of these terms are likely to be abbreviated with “IBC” but this is not specific to inflammatory breast cancer. [Read: Types of Breast Cancer]


Moreover, a diagnosis based on the symptoms of breast cancer may be for more than one type of breast cancer. So, if you are diagnosed as having IBC, you must ask your doctor for specifying the kind of breast cancer variant you are suffering from. This is because IBC may not mean only inflammatory breast cancer. The symptoms explained here would not be the same then. As the breast cancer survival rates vary a lot depending on correct diagnosis and apt treatment, it is important that the patients do not confuse their condition. [Read: Breast Cancer Diagnosis]


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