What to Know About Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

IBC is a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer. Its symptoms resemble 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, or even orange appearance (harder to see with dark skin tones)

  • warmth to the touch

  • ridges

  • welts

  • pitting

  • hives

  • change in skin texture--like that of an orange peel, for example

  • sudden 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

  • swollen lymph nodes under your arm 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.

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