Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)


Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells block the 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.” The skin may also look dimpled like the skin of an orange. IBC can be difficult to diagnose because there is no lump to feel or detect on a mammogram. It is crucial to identify IBC right away because early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve the outcome. Patients are often given a combination of treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Approximately one-third of individuals diagnosed with IBC will become long-term survivors. Like other types of breast cancer, IBC can occur in men, but usually at an older age than in women. Some studies have shown an association between family history of breast cancer and IBC, but more studies are needed to draw firm conclusions.[1182]

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