There are several inflammatory breast cancer risk factors that have been identified. Because this form of cancer is not usually detected until symptoms are already presenting, an awareness of breast changes and an understanding of the risk factors are vital to discovering the cancer when the likelihood of successful treatment is highest. It is important for all women to become familiar with how their breasts look and feel, perform monthly self-exams and report anything unusual to a physician. Additionally, women with certain risk factors are encouraged to be especially vigilant.
Anything that increases an individual’s chance of developing cancer is considered to be a risk factor. Research studies have recognized the following risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer:
- Gender – While inflammatory breast cancer can occur in men, women have a higher likelihood of developing the condition.
- Race – For reasons unknown, African American women are at greater risk for inflammatory breast cancer than Caucasian women.
- Age – The average age at diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer (52) is slightly lower than that of other forms of breast cancer (57).
- Body weight – Inflammatory breast cancer is more common among obese and overweight women than it is in women who maintain a healthy body weight.
- Genetics – A specific genetic risk for inflammatory breast cancer has not been found, but genetic factors that increase an individual’s risk for developing other types of cancer, such as the presence of BRCA1 (breast cancer gene one) or BRCA2 (breast cancer gene two), may also increase the risk of inflammatory breast cancer.
Knowledge about the risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer can help a woman understand her likelihood of developing the condition.
Inflammatory breast cancer prevention
There is no known way to prevent the development of inflammatory breast cancer. Additionally, there are no standardized screening tests specifically for inflammatory breast cancer; a mammogram, for instance, does not always detect it. The best way to combat this form of cancer is to become familiar with its symptoms and report any signs to a physician, as early detection is beneficial in ensuring a positive outcome and quality of life.
Inflammatory breast cancer treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our board-certified physicians are pleased to offer advice about any aspect of breast cancer, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment. As a recognized leader in diagnosing and treating cancer, we are proud to offer our patients access to a comprehensive array of options, including advanced clinical trials, in one convenient location – and all without a referral.