When Breast Cancer Is Not a Lump
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is rare, accounting for 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses in the U.S. Although IBC isn’t common, it is aggressive and can progress quickly, making it important to understand the possible breast symptoms: swollen and red, giving it an inflamed appearance; dimpled, similar to an orange peel; discolored, bruised, purple or pink; and an uncomfortable feeling that doesn’t typically cause pain.
The first step in diagnosing IBC is to rule out a breast infection called mastitis, which typically clears up after a course of antibiotics. If symptoms don’t go away, one’s healthcare provider will order further testing and a consultation with a breast surgeon.
The good news is newer medications and treatment options have proven to be effective in treating IBC. The most important thing one can do is be familiar with one’s breasts and contact one’s healthcare provider if one notices anything out of the ordinary.
Virtua Health’s breast cancer team is part of the nationally accredited Penn Medicine Virtua Cancer Program, with locations in Moorestown, Voorhees and Washington Township. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 856-391-0781 or visit Virtua.org/breastcare.