Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?
- How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
- How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated?
Inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive cancer that can grow and spread quickly. If the inflammatory cancer has not spread beyond the breast, a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) may be performed to remove the tumor. However, because inflammatory breast cancer involves lymphatic vessels of the skin, mastectomy can increase the chances for the cancer to recur (since the skin is stitched together after mastectomy). Therefore, other treatment options (most commonly, chemotherapy) are usually considered before surgery.
Chemotherapy is treatment with anti-cancer drugs. Chemotherapy is often administered to inflammatory breast cancer patients before local treatment (such as mastectomy or radiation). One common regimen of chemotherapy used to treat inflammatory breast cancer patients is CAF (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and fluorouracil). Researchers are also investigating whether high-dose chemotherapy is effective for treating inflammatory breast cancer. Because high dose chemotherapy causes damage to bone marrow cells, a bone marrow transplant or blood stem cell transplantation may be necessary. After surgery, patients with inflammatory breast cancer are usually treated with additional chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy to the chest wall.
Because inflammatory breast cancer is an advanced cancer, it has been associated with a poor prognosis (expected outcome). Past statistics have shown the average survival rate of inflammatory breast cancer to be approximately 18 months. However, recent studies have shown that advancements in treatment may help to extend the survival time for women with inflammatory breast cancer. Using chemotherapy, surgery (mastectomy), and radiation, the average five-year survival rate is currently 40%. Physicians are hopeful that advances in treatment will continue to improve the prognosis for women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.
- The National Cancer Institute provides information on inflammatory breast cancer at http://www.cancer.gov
- The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Help Page provides information and support on inflammatory breast cancer at http://www.ibcsupport.org/. Users may also subscribe in the inflammatory breast cancer support mailing list which was created for women with inflammatory breast cancer and their loved ones.
- The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Organization is an organization made up of individuals who have been touched by inflammatory breast cancer. The organization provides information and support for women with inflammatory breast cancer at http://www.ibcresearch.org/
- To learn more about advanced breast cancer, please visit http://www.imaginis.com/breasthealth/metastatic.asp
Updated: May 2010