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These symptoms 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.
Inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive disease. While its official five-year survival rate is about 40%, advances in care are helping more patients live longer. Recent studies have shown that with the right treatment, inflammatory breast cancer's five-year survival rate is closer to 70% for stage III patients, and 50% to 55% for stage IV patients.
Inflammatory breast cancer may also be called:
- Locally advanced breast cancer
- Breast carcinoma with dermal lymphatic invasion
- Inflammatory carcinoma of the breast
Learn more about inflammatory breast cancer:
- Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms
- Inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis
- Inflammatory breast cancer treatment
Some cases of inflammatory breast cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Learn more about the risk to you and your family on our genetic testing page.
Why choose MD Anderson for inflammatory breast cancer care?
IBC represents only 2% to 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 inflammatory breast cancer 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 inflammatory breast cancer – 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.
Inflammatory breast cancer 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 inflammatory breast cancer patients. In fact, this is one of the few places with the depth of experience and expertise to approach inflammatory breast cancer 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.
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