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Can Inflammatory Breast Cancer Be Cured

How To Lower Your Risk Of Recurrence

Inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis and treatment

There are things you can do to make it less likely that your breast cancer comes back. Some treatments and lifestyle choices have been shown to lower the risk.

Here are treatments that may lower your risk of recurrence:

  • Bone-building drugs may cut your risk of cancer coming back in your bones.
  • Chemotherapy. Research suggests people who have chemotherapy have a lower risk of recurrence.
  • Hormone therapy. If you have receptor-positive breast cancer, hormone therapy after your first treatment may lower your risk of it coming back.
  • Radiation therapy. Research suggests people who have radiation to treat inflammatory breast cancer or a large tumor have a lower risk of it returning.
  • Targeted therapy. Drug treatments that target the protein HER2 may lower your risk if your cancer makes extra HER2 protein.

Lifestyle choices that help prevent a recurrence include:

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How Is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Diagnosed

Same Day Results

At the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, we know how quickly patients want results from a biopsy or scan if there is a suspicion of breast cancer. We follow strict guidelines for biopsies and pathology reports. Most of our patients will receive the probability of cancer immediately following their biopsy procedure and a pathology confirmation within 24 hours.

Learn more about the steps of diagnosis, including:

  • Digital mammography

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How Survival Rate Is Estimated

Survival rates for all cancers are estimated by looking at data on large numbers of people who have a certain type of cancer. Researchers gather information about the people over periods of time, such as 5 years, 20 years, or longer.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer, like the American Cancer Society, uses U.S. survival rates based on data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, known as SEER, of the National Cancer Institute . The NCI works with the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries to gather this information from every state in the U.S. on an ongoing basis.

For breast cancer, the SEER database uses 5-year relative survival rates. A relative survival rate in breast cancer means that women who have the same stage and type of breast cancer are compared to women in the overall population who do not have cancer. For example, if women who have a certain stage and type of breast cancer are found to be about 90 percent as likely as women who dont have that cancer to live at least 5 years after being diagnosed, then the 5-year relative survival rate for the diagnosed women is 90 percent.

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Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Because the lymph channels are blocked, the breast might become:

  • swollen
  • firm or hard
  • hot to the touch

The breast can also be painful in inflammatory breast cancer, but this is not always the case.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • ridges or thickening of the skin of the breast
  • pitted skin, like orange peel
  • a lump in the breast
  • a discharge from the nipple
  • an inverted nipple the nipple is pulled into the breast

Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms can appear quite suddenly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often confused with an infection of the breast . This is because the symptoms are very similar. Mastitis is uncommon in women who aren’t pregnant or breast feeding and it is particularly rare in women who have had their menopause.

Your doctor might give you a course of antibiotics if they think that you could have mastitis. But they will refer you to a specialist if they think you are unlikely to have an infection or if your symptoms dont clear up after antibiotics.

While inflammatory breast cancer can cause these particular symptoms, its worth being aware of the general symptoms of breast cancer.

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you notice any change in the look or feel of your breasts.

Your GP usually refers you to a breast clinic for tests.

You might have a:

  • mammogram, which is an x-ray of the breast
  • breast ultrasound
  • biopsy of the skin in the breast
  • biopsy of a breast lump
  • MRI scan of the breast

Other tests may include a CT scan or PET-CT scan, and bone scan

Advances In The Molecular Characterization Of Ibc

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Needs Prompt Diagnosis

Molecular characteristics

Gene expression profiling

To better define the differences between IBC and non-IBC that are present at the molecular level, high-throughput molecular technologies have been utilized that allow for the analysis of several thousand genes in a tumor sample simultaneously. Over the past decade, several studies have specifically looked at expression profiling. To the best of our knowledge, six groups have profiled clinical samples of IBC and reported their results. One of the earliest publications, from Bertucci et al in 2004, used cDNA microarrays containing approximately 8000 genes to profile 37 IBC and 44 non-IBC prechemotherapy tumor samples. The authors made a number of important observations, including their finding of the presence of extensive transcriptional heterogeneity in IBC, and their demonstration that IBC exhibited overexpression of basal, immune, and vascular gene clusters and exhibited underexpression of luminal gene clusters compared with non-IBC tumors. In addition, they identified a 109-gene signature that discriminated between the two sample types. Using the same data set, Bertucci et al further demonstrated that similar to non-IBC, five molecular subtypes -including luminal A, luminal B, basal, HER2-positive, and normal-like-could be demonstrated in IBC. Higher frequencies of basal and HER2-positive IBC samples were observed compared with the frequencies of these two subtypes in non-IBC samples.

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Is Inoperable Breast Cancer Still Treatable

Although stage 3C breast cancer is defined as either operable or inoperable, an inoperable diagnosis doesnt necessarily mean that it cant be treated.

The term inoperable may mean that all the cancer in the breast and surrounding tissue cant be removed through simple surgery. When breast cancer is removed, a rim of healthy tissue around the tumor, called a margin, is also removed.

For breast cancer to be successfully removed, there needs to be healthy tissue in all margins of the breast, from your clavicle down to a few inches below the breast mound.

It is possible for inoperable breast cancer to become operable following a treatment to shrink the cancer.

What You Can Do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For inflammatory breast cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

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What Should A Person With Stage 3 Breast Cancer Expect From Treatment

Stage 3 treatment options vary widely and may consist of mastectomy and radiation for local treatment and hormone therapy or chemotherapy for systemic treatment. Nearly every person with a Stage 3 diagnosis will do best with a combination of two or more treatments.

Chemotherapy is always given first with the goal to shrink the breast cancer to be smaller within the breast and within the lymph nodes that are affected. This is known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Other possible treatments include biologic targeted therapy and immunotherapy. There may be various clinical trial options for interested patients with Stage 3 breast cancer.

Clinical Trials For Ibc

How MD Anderson treats inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)

Research is ongoing to improve treatment for IBC.

New therapies are being studied in clinical trials. The results of these trials will decide whether these therapies will become part of the standard of care.

After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, we encourage you to consider joining a clinical trial.

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How Does Staging Relate To Types Of Breast Cancer

In addition to cancer stage, doctors will determine the tumor grade and subtype.

Tumors are graded on a scale of 1 to 3, based on how abnormal the cells appear compared to normal cells. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the cancer, meaning that it tends to be growing quickly.

The subtype is important because treatment and outlook will vary depending on which subtype of breast cancer that you have. Subtypes include:

Finishing Treatment And The Chance Of Recurrence

For patients with stage III inflammatory breast cancer, when treatment ends, a period many call “post-treatment survivorship” begins. After treatment, people can feel uncertain and worry that the cancer may come back. While many patients never have the disease return, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.

If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place , nearby , or in another place .

If this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After this testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about the treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the treatments described above, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Your doctor may suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer. Whichever treatment plan you choose, palliative care will be important for relieving symptoms and side effects.

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Ibc Treatment And Prognosis


According to the National Cancer Institute , Inflammatory breast cancer is generally treated first with systemic chemotherapy to help shrink the tumor, then with surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy. This approach to treatment is called a multimodal approach. Studies have found that women with inflammatory breast cancer who are treated with a multimodal approach have better responses to therapy and longer survival. Treatments used in a multimodal approach may include those described below.

*Citation: Inflammatory Breast Cancer was originally published by the National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from Web 19 January 2019.

More IBC treatment information

IBC Prognosis

According to the National Cancer Institute , The prognosis, or likely outcome, for a patient diagnosed with cancer is often viewed as the chance that the cancer will be treated successfully and that the patient will recover completely. Many factors can influence a cancer patients prognosis, including the type and location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, the patients age and overall general health, and the extent to which the patients disease responds to treatment.

More IBC Prognosis Information

**Inflammatory Breast Cancer, American Cancer Society. Retrieved from Web 19 January 2019.

How Inflammatory Breast Cancer Is Treated

IBC Foundation on Twitter: " Interesting how large the area is for ...

In cancer care, doctors specializing in different areas of cancer treatment work together to create a patients overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments. This is called a multidisciplinary team. Cancer care teams include a variety of other health care professionals, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, oncology nurses, social workers, pharmacists, genetic counselors, nutritionists, and others.

Inflammatory breast cancer is considered a locally-advanced breast cancer and is typically treated with several types of treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, HER2 targeted therapy, and/or hormone therapy, as appropriate.

Inflammatory breast cancer treatment usually starts with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy or preoperative therapy. After chemotherapy, people with inflammatory breast cancer usually have surgery to remove the breast. Then, they receive radiation therapy to the chest wall and the nearby lymph nodes. If a patient has metastatic breast cancer when first diagnosed, the main treatment options are systemic therapies, such as chemotherapy. Surgery and/or radiation therapy are less commonly used.

The common types of treatments used for inflammatory breast cancer are described below. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care.

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Diagnosing Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Tests and procedures used to diagnose inflammatory breast cancer include:

  • A physical exam. Your doctor examines your breast to look for redness and other signs of inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend a breast X-ray or a breast ultrasound to look for signs of cancer in your breast, such as thickened skin. Additional imaging tests, such as an MRI, may be recommended in certain situations.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing. A biopsy is a procedure to remove a small sample of suspicious breast tissue for testing. The tissue is analyzed in a laboratory to look for signs of cancer. A skin biopsy may also be helpful, and this can be done at the same time as a breast biopsy.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

With this type of breast cancer, the breast cancer cells dont have ER+ or PR+ receptors. They dont overproduce the HER2 protein, so hormone therapy isnt very effective.

Instead, triple negative stage 4 breast cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be an option, depending on the site of metastasis.

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Women With Inflammatory Breast Cancer Are Living Longer But The Gap Between White And Black Patients Persists

A U-M Rogel Cancer study provides an updated, more comprehensive look at trends for this rare, aggressive form of breast cancer over the last four decades.

Women with inflammatory breast cancer a rare, highly aggressive form of the disease are living about twice as long after diagnosis than their counterparts in the mid-to-late 1970s, according to a new University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center study.

The researchers found that from 1973-1977, patients diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, also known as IBC, survived for an average of about 50 months, compared to 100 months for patients diagnosed from 2008-2012.

But despite overall improvements in survival, the analysis showed an ongoing disparity between white patients and Black patients. And while the gap has narrowed slightly over time, white patients today still tend to live about two years longer than their Black peers, the group found.

The incidence of IBC among Black women is also more than 70% higher than in white women, affecting 4.5 Black women out of 100,000 compared to 2.6 white women, according to the study, which was published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Who Is At Risk

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treatment

IBC is more common in females than males, but its possible for males to develop it, too. Research tells us that women from African-Caribbean backgrounds have the highest risk of developing IBC, and having a close family member who has had breast cancer is also associated with increased risk. Obesity is another risk factor for IBC.

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What Originally Made You Suspect That There Might Be A Problem Withyour Breast

It was in August of 1996 and my husband and I were getting ready to go awayfor a weekend at the beach in Fenwick Island. I noticed a pink spot on one ofmy breasts and a patch of skin that looked inflamed, with an orange peel-likeappearance. Earlier that same year, I had a case of cellulitis in my leg andfoot that turned out to be very hard to treat, and so at first I thought thatmaybe this was the same thing starting up again. So I didn’t waste anytime getting an appointment with my doctor.

Did You Experience Any Side Effects

I took the chemotherapy treatments well. I was in treatment over the Thanksgivingholiday, and I remember that I temporarily lost my sense of taste. At one point,the drugs made my throat very raw and I had trouble eating, but I pulled throughthat.

I lost my hair from the chemo treatments. On the night before I went in forsurgery, my daughter and grandkids were kidding around, and they put some ofthe children’s temporary tattoos on my bald head. I can still rememberthe doctors and nurses laughing at my head covered in Christmas tattoos as Iwent into surgery.

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Preparing For An Appointment

Start by first seeing your family doctor or health care provider if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If you’re diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, you’ll be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancer .

Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of information to discuss, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Here’s some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.

What Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Some more facts about inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block 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.

Inflammatory breast cancer is rare, accounting for 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. Most inflammatory breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas, which means they developed from cells that line the milk ducts of the breast and then spread beyond the ducts.

Inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. At diagnosis, inflammatory breast cancer is either stage III or IV disease, depending on whether cancer cells have spread only to nearby lymph nodes or to other tissues as well.

Additional features of inflammatory breast cancer include the following:

  • Compared with other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer tends to be diagnosed at younger ages.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer is more common and diagnosed at younger ages in African American women than in white women.
  • Inflammatory breast tumors are frequently hormone receptor negative, which means they cannot be treated with hormone therapies, such as tamoxifen, that interfere with the growth of cancer cells fueled by estrogen.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer is more common in obese women than in women of normal weight.

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