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What to Know About Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

What to Know About Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

IBC is a rare but very aggressive type of breast cancer. Its symptoms look a lot like an infection or allergic reaction and are often the same symptoms as those found in some benign breast diseases. This makes diagnosis difficult. These are common symptoms of IBC:

  • Red, pinkish, purple, or even orange appearance (harder to see with dark skin tones)

  • Warm to the touch

  • Heaviness, aching, and tenderness 

  • Welts

  • Burning or itching

  • Hives

  • Change in skin texture (for example, it may be pitted, have ridges, or look like the skin of an orange)

  • Swelling (as much as a bra cup size in a couple of days)

  • Persistent dark spots that look like bruises

  • Change in the color or appearance of the areola (the dark area around the nipple)

  • Pain in your breast (sharp, stabbing pains or persistent aches)

  • Discharge from your nipple, or a change in the way it looks 

  • Swollen lymph nodes under your arm and/or near your collarbone

IBC grows and spreads (metastasizes) rapidly and is very serious. If these symptoms don’t disappear when treated with antibiotics, you may need a biopsy to figure out exactly what is causing the changes in your breast. 

 
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