Unlike the signs of most other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) symptoms progress very quickly, often within days or weeks. Inflammatory breast cancer quickly covers the breast in sheets, causing redness, tenderness and thickening of the skin. Most women with IBC never find a lump.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer vary from person to person. If you have symptoms, they may include:
- Breast swelling that appears suddenly with one breast much larger than the other
- Itching of the breast
- Pink, red, or dark colored area on the breast, sometimes with a dimpling of the breast skin that looks like an orange peel (called peau d’orange)
- Ridges and thickened areas of the skin on the breast
- Breast that feels warm to the touch
- Flattened or retracted nipple
- Breast pain or tenderness
These symptoms usually do not mean you have inflammatory breast cancer. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to discuss them with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.
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.