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What Are the Early Signs of Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Inflammatory breast cancer differs from other types of breast cancer. It typically does not produce a noticeable lump – instead, its early symptoms include redness or bruising, swelling, itchiness and unusual tenderness in one breast. Breast tissue may thicken and feel heavy, the nipple may become inverted and skin on the breast can dimple and begin to resemble an orange peel. These symptoms tend to occur and worsen quickly.

It’s important to note that inflammatory breast cancer is rare and certain benign breast infections share many of its symptoms. Still, if you notice any of changes in your breast tissue or appearance, be sure to promptly consult a physician. Early detection is key to achieving a positive outcome and improved quality of life. 

Inflammatory breast cancer staging

Another factor that sets inflammatory breast cancer apart from other breast malignancies is its staging. Because this specific condition immediately affects both the tissue and skin of the breast, all cases of inflammatory breast cancer start in stage 3B. This makes it difficult to separate “early” signs of cancer from its later-stage symptoms.

Our approach to inflammatory breast cancer

The Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center is led by experts with an unparalleled level of experience in addressing uncommon and aggressive malignancies like inflammatory breast cancer. Moffitt patients have access to a full spectrum of breast cancer screening, genetic counseling, preventive surgery and advanced clinical treatment from a multispecialty team. We also spearhead ambitious breast cancer research initiatives and clinical trials, as recognized by our status as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Contact Moffitt at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online if you would like to receive information about screening or speak with a Moffitt oncologist specializing in inflammatory breast cancer. We welcome patients with or without referrals.