How to recognize the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer and Paget's diesase have recently received a lot of attention. Here’s what you need to know about these rare forms of cancer.
Inflammatory breast cancer
- Only 1 out of 100 new breast cancer diagnoses are for inflammatory breast cancer.
- Inflammatory breast cancer doesn’t present as a lump or on a mammogram.
- Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include soreness, redness and swelling. It looks like an infection of the breast, similar to an infection some women get after nursing a baby.
- Women may experience pain and swelling in one area, or in the entire breast.
- Initially many doctors mistakenly treat inflammatory breast cancer as an infection. But if it doesn’t improve after a week or two of antibiotics, inflammatory breast cancer is suspected.
- Inflammatory breast cancer is most often found in younger women, but it is found in older women, as well.
- Treatment for inflammatory breast cancer usually involves chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and surgery to remove it, followed by radiation and sometimes hormone therapy.
- Another rare form of breast cancer is Paget’s disease. Unlike inflammatory breast cancer, Paget’s disease is a very early form of breast cancer that occurs in the ducts of the nipple and will often present itself as a rash around the nipple. It will often respond to cortisone, but tends to come back. So, any rash around the nipple should be looked at by a dermatologist. Surgery is the usual course of treatment for Paget’s disease.
For more information go to www.komen.org or call the Susan G. Komen for the Cure helpline at 1-800-IM AWARE.