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.
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.