Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of breast cancer that is generally not accompanied by a lump. Some of the common symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include itching, soreness, a rash which turns the skin pink or red, dimpling or a change in the skin which appears like an orange peel, nipple inversion, nipple flaking, nipple discharge, warmness of the skin, breast enlargement and thickening of the skin. While anyone can be affected by inflammatory breast cancer, it is important to be aware of the risk factors.
Women are much more likely to experience inflammatory breast cancer than men. That said, it is important to keep in mind that there is a possibility that it may affect men. Male breast cancer is fairly rare to begin with, but this form is even rarer – mostly because it is a rare form of breast cancer in general. Any man who experiences unusual breast changes should be sure to visit his doctor. Also note that men who are overweight or obese are at much greater risk of breast cancer.
The most common age of diagnosis for women with inflammatory breast cancer is in their 50s. This is actually earlier than the common age for diagnosis of other types of breast cancer. That said, women can become affected by inflammatory breast cancer at any time during her life. Do not rule out the possibility of this form of breast cancer just because you are young. If you have a family history of breast cancer in which relatives were diagnosed at an early age, you may want to consider beginning annual mammograms at an early age as well.
Caucasian women are less likely to get inflammatory breast cancer than black women are. However, this does not mean that a Caucasian woman or a woman of any other race is not able to become diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Never rule out inflammatory breast cancer because your ethnicity puts you at a lower risk.
Inflammatory breast cancer is known to be very aggressive. Most of this is because many women do not realize that their symptoms could be caused by cancer. Since they do not find a lump, they make the assumption that they are experiencing a rash or hormonal changes. While there is a possibility that this could be the case, it is best to be safe than sorry. Visiting your doctor any time that you experience breast changes which do not seem right is a key step to diagnosing cancer early enough to treat it successfully.
MayoClinic.com, “Inflammatory breast cancer.”
Merck, “Breast Cancer.”