Inflammatory breast cancer is one of the most deadly types of breast cancers. The fact that the cancer is very aggressive and spreads fast through the lymph nodes to other areas of the body within weeks, makes it difficult to diagnose early and offer treatment.
Difficulty also arises at the time of diagnosis due to the absence of normal symptoms associated with breast cancer. Women who are even used to self examination of the breasts too will be caught unawares as IBC does not present itself with a lump as in the case of other forms of cancers. IBC symptoms have to be caught very early for the treatment methods to work on the patient.
Diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer
Often, it is ignorance that causes a lot of life threatening conditions in people. Now that you have come to know about inflammatory breast cancer, self examination of the breasts can include a few more details like looking for symptoms associated with IBC as well.
Check for symptoms like dimpling of the skin like orange peel, sudden swelling, pinkish or reddish skin along with itching, thickening of certain areas of the skin, inverted nipples, discharge from the nipples that could be bloody, unusual warmth, bruised appearance of the breast, pain while touching etc.
Check With The Physician
As IBC is very aggressive, it is very important to get a confirmation as early as possible. Therefore, do not wait for the symptoms to subside on its own or seek to self medicate. Check with a doctor and express your desire to be checked for IBC right away.
Many doctors make the mistake of misdiagnosing the condition as the symptoms of IBS are very similar to mastitis and antibiotics are administered as the first line of treatment. The doctor will conduct specific tests for diagnosing inflammatory breast cancer.
Inflammatory breast cancer blocks the lymph vessels leading to swelling due to water retention. This blockage can be detected through a mammogram and immediate treatment can be started after the diagnosis.
If your doctor suspects inflammatory breast cancer, a biopsy is the best way by which you can confirm the presence of cancer. Biopsy involves taking the affected tissue from the breast for lab testing. Further testing will be required to assess the extent of the spread and the stage if IBS is found to be present.
To assess the spread of cancer to other areas of the body, an MRI scan is the best diagnostic method. MRI scans can help in identifying areas where the cancer has spread and this will help in assessing the extent of spread and the stage at which the Inflammatory breast cancer is diagnosed. Much depends on the stage of the cancer when it comes to treatment methods.
The most common treatment method is mastectomy and it if followed up by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The prognosis for inflammatory breast cancer is very poor as the disease is mostly in the advanced stage at the time of diagnosis and would have, metastasised to many other parts of the body as well.