DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that develops rapidly, making the affected breast red, swollen and tender. Inflammatory breast cancer occurs when cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in skin covering the breast, causing the characteristic red, swollen appearance of the breast.
Inflammatory breast cancer is considered a locally advanced cancer — meaning it has spread from its point of origin to nearby tissue and possibly to nearby lymph nodes.
Inflammatory breast cancer can easily be confused with a breast infection. Seek medical attention promptly if you notice skin changes on your breast, to help distinguish a breast infection from other breast disorders, such as inflammatory breast cancer.
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- Dawood S, et al. International expert panel on inflammatory breast cancer: Consensus statement for standardized diagnosis and treatment. Annals of Oncology. 2011;22:15.