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Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Our Approach

Naoto T. Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., leads MD Anderson’s Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program, the first and most-active program in the nation dedicated to the rare disease.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is unique and rare – and it can be fast growing and dangerous. IBC represents only 2-4% of all breast cancer cases in the United States, but due to its aggressive nature, it represents 10% of U.S. breast cancer deaths. Early and accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment by experts who specialize in IBC can make an important difference.

At MD Anderson, we established the world's first inflammatory breast cancer clinic especially to treat women with IBC – both those who have been treated before and those who are newly diagnosed. We see some 100 cases of inflammatory breast cancer each year, more than any other center in the world.

Our experts are highly skilled in diagnosing inflammatory breast cancer. Doctors from many disciplines work in teams to customize your treatment, and they use the most-advanced techniques and technology.

Research Gives New Hope

We're still learning about inflammatory breast cancer. Many recent studies show the best treatment often is based on each cancer's specific genetic and biological makeup.

MD Anderson has played a key role in development of many targeted and biological treatments to improve the survival of IBC patients.. In fact, this is one of the few places with the depth of experience and expertise to approach treatment this way.

In addition to treatment, the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic works to:

  • Gain a better understanding of what causes IBC
  • Develop a blood test to diagnose IBC
  • Establish imaging guidelines
  • Develop novel radiation therapy techniques

Already, our experts have found that combining computed tomography (CT) with positron emission tomography (PET) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can more quickly and accurately find where inflammatory breast cancer has spread.

If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • First – and largest – comprehensive inflammatory breast cancer program in the world
  • Innovative IBC treatment options include targeted therapies
  • Surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists who specialize in treating IBC
  • Personalized team approach to inflammatory breast cancer
  • Advanced diagnostic equipment
  • Active research program offers clinical trials

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Inflammatory breast cancer is treated in a special IBC Clinic at our Nellie B. Connally Breast Center.

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Terry Arnold

"With the grace of God and really great care at MD Anderson, I am pleased to report my current IBC status is NED, no evidence of disease."

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Survivor Terry Arnold

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Facts

Inflammatory breast cancer is rare, and it is the most aggressive form of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it accounts for only 1% to 5% of all invasive breast cancers. However, the five-year overall survival rate is 40%, compared to nearly 90% for all other types of breast cancer combined.

IBC also may be called:

  • Locally advanced breast cancer
  • Breast carcinoma with dermal lymphatic invasion
  • Inflammatory carcinoma of the breast

The symptoms of IBC actually are not caused by inflammation but by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels in the skin and soft tissue. Lymph is a clear fluid that contains tissue waste and cells that help fight infection. It travels through the body in vessels that are similar to veins. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped organs that link lymph vessels.

If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center