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What Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, but aggressive type of breast cancer. The breast may appear normal until tumor cells invade and block lymphatic vessels in the overlying skin causing fluid to back up. Rapidly, the breast becomes swollen, red, and tender.


Other symptoms include:

  • heaviness

  • burning

  • aching

  • a nipple that is inverted

  • thickening of the skin or an orange-peel appearance

  • ridging of the skin of the breast

Some women (and men!) may also develop a lump in the breast.


Inflammatory breast cancer can easily be confused with a breast infection, but if it’s cancer, symptoms won’t go away with antibiotics. Prompt medical attention is imperative if you notice skin changes on your breast, to help distinguish a breast infection from other breast disorders.

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