Common IBC Symptoms:

  • A swollen breast
  • a painful breast
  • incessant itchy breast
  • a rash on one breast
  • a bug bite that won't go away
  • nipple changes
  • a hardened area in the breast similar to a pencil lead, not a lump
These symptoms may appear overnight without warning. If they do not go away with creams, ointments or antibiotics, demand that your doctor rule out IBC.

Things You need to know:
Mammograms usually don't pick up IBC because so often there is no lump.

Why - Reason #1
Doctors misdiagnose Inflammatory Breast Cancer as a breast infection or mastitis.

Why - Reason #2
We need to push this message across the country.

Our group of dedicated advocates are, and a brief message about each one of us.

These are TIPS that doctors and patients have given to people dealing with first symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, plus TIPS from patients who have gone through chemotherapy.

  • Insist that your physician take your temperature at initial exam. Mastitis is often accompanied by an increase in body temp, while IBC is not.

  • Any sudden changes to your breast (sometimes overnight), swelling, constant itching, pain or discoloration need to be taken seriously. See your Doctor.

  • We are told to look for a lump. Not so normally with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. An overnight swelling of the breast, pain, itching that will not go away with creams or ointments, should be checked by a breast specialist. And please be your own best advocate. It could save your life.

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained on the '' web site is presented for the purpose of educating people on Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly.

Education is the MOST powerful tool in the fight against misdiagnosis and improper treatment of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Our Foundation's mission is to educate the public and the medical community when needed, that this form of breast cancer is different and is rarely picked up by mammograms.

WTOE ceased broadcasting
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They hope to return in 2015.
IBC Podcasts of previous shows
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"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....It's about learning to dance in the rain"
Andy Rooney




Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is THE MOST aggressive type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This type of breast cancer is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or “inflamed”, sometimes overnight.

  • IBC accounts for 1 to 5 percent (these numbers vary depending on their source) of all breast cancer cases in the United States. It tends to be diagnosed in younger women compared to non-IBC breast cancer.

  • IBC lies in sheets (or nests), not the usual lump women are told to look for, thus rarely seen on routine mammograms.

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer occurs more frequently and at a younger age in African Americans than in Whites. The median age range of IBC patients is between 45 and 55 years old, but may be either younger or older.

  • Like other types of breast cancer, IBC can occur in men.

  • The 5-year median survival rate is approximately 40%, mainly due to delays in diagnosis, a physician's lack of expertise in treating IBC and its resistance to treatment with standard chemotherapy drugs.

  • IBC is treated differently, because it is different.

The below link will take you to the latest CME (Continuing Medical Education) for Doctors and nurses.


Click on the IBC ribbon to see photos of clinical signs of Inflammatory Breast see photos of clinical signs of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
The pictures are graphic, but education is powerful.

* Remember that no one woman will have all these symptoms, and some may only have a few. Everyone is different.

Signs of IBC

Because inflammatory breast cancer doesn't normally occur as a breast lump and has a peculiar growth pattern, its symptoms are not typical signs of cancer, and may appear to be something else.

IBC symptoms may include one or some of the below:

  • A breast that appears discolored; (red, purple, pink or bruised)

  • A tender, firm and enlarged breast (sometimes overnight)

  • A warm feeling in the breast (or may feel hot/warm to the touch)

  • Persistent Itching of the breast (not relieved with cream or salve)

  • Shooting or stabbing pain

  • Ridged or dimpled skin texture, similar to an orange peel

  • Thickened areas of breast tissue

  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm, above/below the collarbone

  • Flattening or retraction of the nipple

  • Swollen or crusted skin on the nipple

  • Change in color of the skin around the nipple (areola)

  • A hardened area in the breast similar to a pencil lead, not a lump

If one or more of these symptoms continue for more than a week, talk to a physician immediately, and find an expert with experience in treating this particular type of breast cancer. Many women have to demand that their physicians "rule out" IBC, and (therefore) become their own best advocate, as more education is needed in the medical community regarding this form of breast cancer.

How is IBC diagnosed?

MD Anderson IBC Clinic states:

Standard diagnostic tests for breast cancer, such as mammograms, MRI and biopsies generally cannot accurately diagnose IBC. The following tests are used to make a diagnosis:

* Surgical biopsy – larger samples of the breast skin and underlying tissue can be collected in a surgical or skin biopsy, with better chances for identifying the cancer cells.

*PET Scan – In the near future, this could be one of the most important diagnostic/staging tests for IBC, though it is still under study. PET scans enable oncologists to see more disease.

The National Cancer Institute states:

IBC is classified as either stage IIIB or stage IV breast cancer. Stage IIIB breast cancers are locally advanced. Stage IV breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other organs(metastasized). IBC tends to grow rapidly, and the physical appearance of the breast of patients with IBC is different from that of patients with other stage III breast cancers. IBC is an especially aggressive,locally advanced breast cancer.

How is IBC treated?

Inflammatory breast cancer is typically treated with chemotherapy before surgery.

Treatment consisting of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy is used to treat IBC. Patients may also receive supportive care to help manage the side effects of the cancer and its treatment. Chemotherapy (anticancer drugs) is generally the first treatment for patients with IBC, and is called neoadjuvant therapy. Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, which means that it affects cells throughout the body. The purpose of chemotherapy is to control or kill cancer cells, including those that may have spread to other parts of the body.

After chemotherapy, patients with IBC may undergo surgery and radiation therapy to the chest wall. Both radiation and surgery are local treatments that affect only cells in the tumor and the immediately surrounding area. The purpose of surgery is to remove the tumor from the body, while the purpose of radiation therapy is to destroy remaining cancer cells. Surgery to remove the breast (or as much of the breast tissue as possible) is called a mastectomy. Lymph node dissection (removal of the lymph nodes in the underarm area for examination under a microscope) is also done during this surgery.

For more information on treatment, you can go to the websites below , and enter the search term, inflammatory breast cancer.

MD Anderson IBC Clinic

Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia

Fox Chase Cancer Clinic

National Cancer Institute:

National Cancer Trials for IBC:
(the above site is for basic trials for breast cancer. By entering
Inflammatory Breast Cancer into the search, it brings you to this link:

When searching for clinical trials within the National Cancer Institute, you will notice this sentence:
"For more details about this trial, refer to the Health Professional version of the trial summary."
It is a link within each trial. By clicking on the link, in most cases,it will take you to a different page that states Inflammatory Breast Cancer is included.