I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB triple negative inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) on January 13th of 2016. Before then, I hadn’t even heard of it. After 8 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy and 33 radiation treatments, I’m still alive and kicking! For more info, visit www.theibcnetwork.com
* Symptoms of IBC. Below I’ve posted some of the symptoms of IBC. What symptoms did I have? I experienced rapid growth in my affected breast, dimpling skin, some redness, hard swelling, orange peel skin, and an inverted nipple. All this happened with a matter of weeks after having a mammogram and ultrasound.
* I was diagnosed by mammogram, ultrasound,PET scan and biopsy.
* Rapid, unusual increase in the size of one breast
* Dimpling or ridging of breast skin
* Redness of the breast: Redness involving part or all of the breast is a hallmark of inflammatory breast cancer. Sometimes the redness comes and goes.
* Swelling of the breast: Part of or all of the breast may be swollen, enlarged, and hard.
* Warmth: The breast may feel warm.
* Orange-peel appearance: Your breast may swell and start to look like the peel of a navel orange (this is called “peau d’orange”).
* Other skin changes: The skin of the breast might look pink or bruised, or you may have what looks like ridges, welts, or hives on your breast.
* Swelling of lymph nodes: The lymph nodes under your arm or above the collarbone may be swollen.
* Flattening or inversion of the nipple: The nipple may go flat or turn inward.
* Aching or burning: Your breast may ache or feel tender.
And remember, only 10% of women diagnosed with IBC present with a lump.
* IBC accounts for 1-5 % of all breast cancers diagnosed.
* Inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. Inflammatory breast cancer is either stage III or IV at diagnosis, depending on whether cancer cells have spread only to nearby lymph nodes or to other tissues as well. It is not commonly picked up by a mammogram.
* It is more common and diagnosed at younger ages in African American women than in white women. The median age at diagnosis in African American women is 54 years, compared with a median age of 58 years in white women
* Diagnosing IBC is difficult. This is because IBC is not easy to see on a mammogram & often missed due to the lack of a defined lump and diffuse tumor clumps. It’s described as being web-like or looking like cotton candy. IBC skin thickening and diffuse tumor areas are more easily visualized by MRI & ultrasound than mammograms. It is possible to have a completely negative mammogram and still have IBC so do not rely on this mode of imaging alone. Only one third of women with IBC have palpable lumps. IBC can be spread out over the entire breast very quickly.
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