Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. Inflammatory breast cancer is rare, accounting for 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. Most inflammatory breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas, which means they developed from cells that line the milk ducts of the breast and then spread beyond the ducts. Inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. At diagnosis, inflammatory breast cancer is either stage III or IV disease, depending on whether cancer cells have spread only to nearby lymph nodes or to other tissues as well. Like other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer can occur in men, but usually at an older age than in women.
There are many different types of breast cancer. To determine an appropriate approach to treating the disease , your doctor will first evaluate the specifics of the breast tumor, including:. Most types of breast cancers are adenocarcinomas of the breast. These types of tumors are found in many other common cancers and form in glands or ducts that secrete fluid. Breast adenocarcinomas form in milk-producing glands called lobules or in milk ducts. Invasive infiltrating breast cancer cells break through normal breast tissue barriers and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes.
Not all breast cancers are the same. Understand what type of breast cancer you have and how it differs from other types of breast cancer. Once you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will review your pathology report and the results of any imaging tests to understand the specifics of your tumor.