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Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Overview

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some basic information about this disease and the parts of the body it may affect. This is the first page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Inflammatory Breast Cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen. Think of that menu as a roadmap to this full guide.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of breast cancer. The cancer gets its name because the symptoms include redness, tenderness, swelling, and pain in the breast, all of which are similar to a condition called mastitis that is an inflammation of the breast. However, unlike mastitis, inflammatory breast cancer does not improve with antibiotic treatment.

About the breast

The breast is mainly composed of fatty tissue. Within this tissue is a network of lobes, which are made up of tiny, tube-like structures called lobules that contain milk glands. Tiny ducts connect the glands, lobules, and lobes, carrying the milk from the lobes to the nipple, located in the middle of the areola, which is the darker area that surrounds the nipple of the breast. Blood and lymph vessels run throughout the breast; blood nourishes the cells, and the lymph system collects fluid from tissues to return to the blood and carries cells that help fight infection and disease. The lymph vessels connect to lymph nodes, the tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection.

About cancer

Cancer begins when normal cells in the breast change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be benign or cancerous. A benign tumor means the tumor will not spread. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer spreads when the cancer grows into other parts of the body or when breast cancer cells move to other parts of the body through the blood vessels and/or lymph vessels. This is called metastatic cancer.

In inflammatory breast cancer, the cancer cells block the lymph vessels within the breast, which causes fluid backup and swelling of the breast and overlying skin. Because this type of breast cancer can grow quickly, it is treated with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy; see Treatment Options for more information.

Looking for More of an Overview?

If you would like additional introductory information about breast cancer, explore these related items. Please note these links take you to other sections on Cancer.Net:

  • ASCO Answers Fact Sheet: Read a one-page fact sheet (available as a PDF) that offers an easy-to-print introduction to breast cancer.
  • ASCO Answers Guide: This 52-page booklet (available as a PDF) helps newly diagnosed patients better understand their disease and treatment options, as well as keep track of the specifics of their individual cancer care plan.
  • Cancer.Net Patient Education Video: View a short video led by an ASCO expert in breast cancer that provides basic information and areas of research.

To continue reading this guide, use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Statistics

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Inflammatory breast cancer makes up 1% to 5% of all breast cancers. Nearly all cases are diagnosed in women. Because inflammatory breast cancer can grow and spread quickly, this cancer is often locally advanced, meaning it has spread to areas around the breast, when it is first diagnosed. For this reason, it may be treated similarly to a later-stage breast cancer.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. Based on the latest available data from the National Cancer Institute, from 1988 and 2001, the five-year survival rate of people with inflammatory breast cancer was 34%. However, survival rates can vary between 11% and 49% depending on the stage, tumor grade, certain features of the cancer, and the types of treatment used. It is important to note that new treatments have been approved since these statistics were published. Women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer today may have much higher survival rates because doctors now have a better understanding of how to treat inflammatory breast cancer.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with inflammatory breast cancer. Because survival statistics for inflammatory breast cancer are measured in multi-year intervals, they may not represent recent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Source: National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society

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Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Risk Factors

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor can help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The risk factors for inflammatory breast cancer are the same as those for other forms of breast cancer. It is not known what specific factors can raise a person’s risk of inflammatory breast cancer. A family history of breast cancer in general may increase the risk of developing inflammatory breast cancer, but no specific genetic mutations or changes have been found for this type of breast cancer. However, women with genetic mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer also have a higher risk of developing inflammatory breast cancer.

To continue reading this guide, use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Women with inflammatory breast cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, women with inflammatory breast cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.

Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may appear quickly and within a short time of each other.

  • A red, swollen, or warm breast. This symptom is caused when the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. Because inflammatory breast cancer cells are located within the lymphatic system of the breast, it often quickly spreads throughout the body.
  • Skin or nipple changes, including ridges, puckering, or roughness on the skin. This roughness has been compared with the skin of an orange and may be called peau d’orange.
  • A lump in the breast, although often there is not distinct lump
  • Pain in the breast or nipple
  • Nipple discharge

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Diagnosis

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a list of the common tests, procedures, and scans that doctors can use to find out what’s wrong and identify the cause of the problem. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer. This is the most important step to make a diagnosis and to plan treatment. Imaging tests may also be done to find out how much the cancer has grown and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. However, imaging tests may not be as helpful as a biopsy for evaluating inflammatory breast cancer. In addition to a physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose inflammatory breast cancer. This list describes options for diagnosing this type of cancer, and not all tests listed will be used for every woman.

Imaging tests

Diagnostic mammography. A diagnostic mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. An x-ray is a way to create a picture of the structures inside of the body, using a small amount of radiation. It is similar to a screening mammography, which is used to look for a possible breast tumor in women who have no symptoms. A diagnostic mammography is often used when a woman is experiencing signs, such as nipple discharge or a new lump. It may also be used if something suspicious is found on a screening mammogram.

Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs. An ultrasound can distinguish between a solid mass, which may be cancer, and a fluid-filled cyst, which is usually not cancer. Ultrasounds are not used for screening.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body. MRI can also be used to measure the tumor’s size. A special dye called a contrast medium is given into the patient’s vein before the scan to help create a clear picture of the possible cancer. A breast MRI may be used once a woman has been diagnosed with cancer to check the other breast for cancer or to find out how much the disease has grown throughout the breast. It may also be used for screening, particularly along with mammography for some women with a high risk of breast cancer. For example, women with breast cancer gene mutations, often called BRCA gene mutations, or a strong family history of breast cancer should receive MRI screening along with a mammogram.

MRI may often be better to see a small mass within a woman’s breast than a mammogram or ultrasound, especially for women with very dense breast tissue, but it has a higher rate of false-positive test results which may result in more biopsies. A false-positive test result is one that indicates cancer when there is no cancer present. Talk with your doctor for more information.

Surgical tests

Biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Other tests can suggest that cancer is present, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. The sample removed during the biopsy is analyzed by a pathologist. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease. There are different types of biopsies, which are named by the technique and/or size of needle used to collect the tissue sample.

  • A fine needle aspiration (FNA) uses a thin needle to remove a small sample of cells.
  • A core needle biopsy uses a wider needle to remove a larger sample of tissue. This is usually the preferred biopsy technique for determining whether a physical examination or finding on an imaging test is cancer. A vacuum-assisted biopsy removes several large core of tissue. Local anesthesia, medication to block the awareness of pain, is used to lessen a patient’s discomfort during the procedure. For inflammatory breast cancer, there is often no single, main tumor so more than one core biopsy may be needed to diagnose the cancer.
  • A surgical biopsy removes the largest amount of tissue. This biopsy may be used to remove part of the lump, called an incisional biopsy, or to remove the entire lump, called an excisional biopsy. Because definitive surgery is best done after a cancer diagnosis has been made, a surgical biopsy is usually not the recommended way to diagnose breast cancer. Most often, non-surgical core needle biopsies are recommended to diagnose breast cancer. This means that only one surgical procedure is needed to remove the tumor and to take samples of the lymph nodes. An incisional biopsy is occasionally needed to diagnose inflammatory breast cancer when the core needle biopsies (see above) were not helpful to diagnose the cancer.
  • Image-guided biopsy is used when a distinct lump can't be felt, but an abnormality is seen on a radiologic image, such as a mammogram. During this procedure, a needle is guided to the area of concern with the help of mammography, ultrasound, or MRI. A stereotactic biopsy is performed with mammography guidance. A small metal clip may be put into the breast to mark the site of biopsy, in case the sample tissue proves cancerous and additional surgery is required. This clip is usually titanium so it will not cause problems with future imaging tests, but check with your doctor before you have additional imaging tests. An image-guided biopsy can be done using a fine needle, core, or vacuum-assisted biopsy, depending on the amount of tissue being removed. Imaging tests may also be used to help do a biopsy on a lump that can be felt, in order to help find the best location. This approach may be very useful to diagnose inflammatory breast cancer as it is often hard to locate the best area for a biopsy due to the nature of the disease.

If cancer is diagnosed, surgery is needed to remove the cancer in the breast and evaluate the lymph nodes for cancer (see Treatment Options). However, for inflammatory breast cancer, surgery first is not usually the best option because breast cancer cells have often already spread throughout the breast. Because the goal of surgery is make sure that there are no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue removed during surgery, called a clear surgical margin, other treatment first may be a better option. Treatment before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy (see Treatment Options). If there is cancer in the lymph nodes, the cancer is called lymph node-positive breast cancer or node-positive. If there is no cancer in the lymph nodes, the cancer is called lymph node-negative breast cancer or node-negative.

Tumor features. By examining the tumor under the microscope, the pathologist finds out whether the tumor is invasive or in situ; ductal or lobular; and the grade, which describes how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells. Inflammatory breast cancer is always invasive.

Molecular testing of the tumor

Your doctor may recommend additional laboratory tests on your tumor sample to identify specific factors unique to the tumor. Inflammatory breast cancers are often triple negative. This means that the tumor cells do not have estrogen or progesterone receptors or human epidermal growth factors receptors (see below). However, some inflammatory breast cancers do have these receptors.

Estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) tests. Breast cancer cells with these receptors depend on the hormones estrogen and progesterone to grow. The presence of these receptors helps determine both the patient’s risk of recurrence and the type of treatment that will be most likely to prevent a recurrence. Generally, hormonal therapy (see Treatment Options) works well for ER-positive or PR-positive tumors. However, many inflammatory breast cancers are ER-negative and PR-negative. Read about ER and PR testing.

HER2 tests. About 20% to 25% of breast cancers have an increase in the number of copies of a gene called the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2). This is called HER2-positive cancer. The gene makes a protein which is found on the cancer cell and is important in tumor cell growth; these types of cancers usually grow more quickly. The HER2 status helps determine whether a certain type of drug, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), lapatinib (Tykerb), pertuzumab (Perjeta), or trastuzumab emtansine (TDM-1; Kadcyla) might help treat the cancer. Only trastuzumab and pertuzumab are approved for the treatment of early-stage cancers. In addition, about 50% of HER2-positive tumors also have hormone receptors and can benefit from both hormone therapy and HER2 targeted therapy. Read about HER2 testing for breast cancer.

Blood tests

The doctor may also need to do several types of blood tests to learn more about the cancer:

Serum chemistry. These tests are often done to look at blood electrolytes, which are minerals in your body, such as potassium and calcium, and specialized proteins called enzymes that can be abnormal if cancer has spread. However, it is important to note that many noncancerous conditions can affect the results of these tests.

  • Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that can be associated with disease that has spread to the liver, bone, or bile ducts.
  • Blood calcium levels can be increased if cancer has spread to the bone. This is a condition called hypercalcemia.
  • Total bilirubin count and the enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) evaluate liver function. High levels of any of these substances can indicate liver damage, which is a sign that the cancer could have spread to that organ.

Blood tumor marker tests. Serum tumor markers or biomarkers are proteins found in a person's blood that can be associated with the presence of cancer. An elevated serum tumor marker may indicate an abnormal process in the body, which could be due to cancer or a noncancerous condition. Tumor marker testing is not recommended for early-stage breast cancer, but they may be useful in the follow-up care of recurrent or metastatic disease. Common tumor markers in breast cancer include CA27.29, CA15-3, and CEA. Learn more about tumor markers for breast cancer.

Additional tests

The doctor may recommend additional tests to evaluate the stage of the cancer depending on your medical history, symptoms, how much the disease has grown in the breast and lymph nodes, and results of the physical examination. Read the Stages section for more information. These tests are not recommended for all patients.

  • A chest x-ray may be used to look for cancer that has spread from the breast to the lung.
  • A bone scan may be used to look for spread to the bones. A bone scan uses a radioactive tracer to look at the inside of the bones. The tracer is injected into a patient’s vein, and then the scan is performed several hours later using a special camera. The tracer collects in areas of the bone that are healing, which occurs in response to damage from the cancer cells. The areas where the tracer collects appear dark, compared to healthy bone, which appears gray. However, some cancers do not cause the same healing response and will not show up on the bone scan. Also, areas of advanced arthritis or healing after a fracture will also appear dark.
  • A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan may be used to look for disease in organs outside the breast, such as the lung, liver, bone, and lymph nodes. A CT scan creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine. A computer combines these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view that shows any abnormalities or tumors. A CT scan can also be used to measure a tumor’s size. A CT scan can also be used to measure the tumor’s size and if it is shrinking with treatment. A contrast dye may be injected into a patient’s vein before the scan to provide better detail.
  • A positron emission tomography (PET) scan may also be used to determine whether the cancer has spread to organs outside of the breast. A PET scan is a way to create pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A small amount of a radioactive sugar substance is injected into the patient’s body. This sugar substance is taken up by cells that use the most energy because they are actively dividing. Because cancer cells tend to use energy actively, they absorb more of the radioactive substance. A scanner then detects this substance to produce images of the inside of the body. Areas that are most active appear as bright spots, and the intensity of the brightness can be measured to better describe these areas. A combination PET/CT scan may also be used to measure the size of tumors and to more accurately determine the location of the bright spots. A PET/CT scan will also show any abnormalities in the bone, similar to the bone scan.

After diagnostic tests are done, your doctor will review all of the results with you. If the diagnosis is cancer, these results also help the doctor describe the cancer; this is called staging.

The next section helps explain the different stages for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Stages, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Stages

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, how much it has grown, and if or where it has spread. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer.

The most commonly used tool that doctors use to describe tumor stage is the TNM system. TNM is an abbreviation for tumor (T), node (N), and metastasis (M). Doctors look at these three factors to determine the stage of cancer:

  • How large is the primary tumor and where is it located? (Tumor, T)
  • Has the tumor spread to the lymph nodes? (Node, N)
  • Has the cancer metastasized to other parts of the body? (Metastasis, M)

The results are combined to determine the stage of cancer for each person. There are five stages of breast cancer overall: stage 0 (zero), which is non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and stages I through IV (one through four), which represent invasive breast cancer.

There are two types of staging for breast cancer. First, the clinical stage is based on the results of tests done before surgery, such as a physical examination, x-rays, CT scans, and MRI tests. Then, the pathologic stage is assigned based on information found during surgery, plus the laboratory results of the breast tissue and any lymph nodes removed during surgery. In general, more importance is placed on the pathologic stage than the clinical stage. The stage provides a common way of describing the cancer so doctors can work together to plan the best treatments.

Cancer stage grouping

Doctors assign the stage of the cancer by combining the T, N, and M classifications. Read about specific T, N, and M classifications in the Guide to Breast Cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is generally considered stage IIIB breast cancer at a minimum at the time of diagnosis.

Stage 0: Stage zero (0) describes disease that is only in the ducts and lobules of the breast tissue and has not spread to the surrounding tissue of the breast. It is also called noninvasive cancer (Tis, N0, M0).

Stage IA: The tumor is small, invasive, and has not spread to the lymph nodes (T1, N0, M0).

Stage IB: Cancer has spread only to the lymph nodes, and is larger than 0.2 mm but less than 2 mm in size. There is either no evidence of a tumor in the breast or the tumor in the breast is 20 mm or smaller (T0 or T1, N1mic, M0).

Stage IIA: Any one of these conditions:

  • There is no evidence of a tumor in the breast, but the cancer has spread to the axillary or underarm lymph nodes but not to distant parts of the body. (T0, N1, M0).
  • The tumor is 20 mm or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes (T1, N1, M0).
  • The tumor is larger than 20 mm but not larger than 50 mm and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes (T2, N0, M0).

Stage IIB: Either of these conditions:

  • The tumor is larger than 20 mm but not larger than 50 mm and has spread to one to three axillary lymph nodes (T2, N1, M0).
  • The tumor is larger than 50 mm but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes (T3, N0, M0).

Stage IIIA: The cancer of any size has spread to four to nine axillary lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body (T0, T1, T2 or T3, N2, M0). Stage IIIA may also be a tumor larger than 50 mm that has spread to one to three lymph nodes (T3, N1, M0).

Stage IIIB: The tumor has spread to the chest wall or caused swelling or ulceration of the breast or is diagnosed as inflammatory breast cancer. It may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm, but it has not spread to other parts of the body (T4; N0, N1 or N2; M0).

Stage IIIC: A tumor of any size that has not spread to distant parts of the body but has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes or the lymph nodes in the N3 group (any T, N3, M0).

Stage IV (metastatic): The tumor can be any size and has spread to another organ (bones, lungs, brain, liver, distant lymph nodes, or chest wall (any T, any N, M1). Metastatic cancer spread is found when the cancer is first diagnosed about 5% to 6% of the time. Most commonly, metastatic breast cancer is found after a previous diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer.

Recurrent: Recurrent cancer is cancer that has come back after treatment. If there is a recurrence, the cancer may need to be staged again (called re-staging) using the system above.

Used with permission of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), Chicago, Illinois. The original source for this material is the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual Seventh Edition (2010) published by Springer-Verlag New York, www.cancerstaging.net.

Information about the cancer’s stage will help the doctor recommend a treatment plan. The next section helps explain the treatment options for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Treatment Options, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Treatment Options

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different ways doctors use to treat this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This section outlines treatments that are the standard of care (the best proven treatments available) for this specific type of cancer. When making treatment plan decisions, patients are also encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study to test a new approach to treatment to evaluate whether it is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials may test such approaches as a new drug, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of current therapies. Your doctor can help you review all treatment options. For more information, see the Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections.

Treatment overview

In cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments. This is called a multidisciplinary team.

Inflammatory breast cancer is typically considered a locally-advanced breast cancer and is treated aggressively with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or HER2 targeted therapy as appropriate. Chemotherapy is usually the first type of treatment for inflammatory breast cancer. After chemotherapy, patients with inflammatory breast cancer usually receive surgery and radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall.

Descriptions of the most common treatment options for inflammatory breast cancer are listed below. Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the patient’s preferences and overall health. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care. Take time to learn about all of your treatment options and be sure to ask questions about things that are unclear. Also, talk about the goals of each treatment with your doctor and what you can expect while receiving the treatment. Learn more about making treatment decisions.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is given by a medical oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medication.

Systemic chemotherapy is delivered through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body. Common ways to give chemotherapy include an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is swallowed (orally). A chemotherapy regimen consists of a specific treatment schedule of drugs given at repeating intervals for a set number of times. Chemotherapy for inflammatory breast cancer is usually given before surgery, called preoperative or neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is also commonly given if there is a breast cancer recurrence (see below.)

A patient may receive one drug at a time or combinations of different drugs at the same time. Chemotherapy for inflammatory breast cancer that has not spread outside of the breast and regional lymph nodes is usually a combination of drugs.

Common drugs for inflammatory breast cancer include:

  • Capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • Carboplatin (Paraplatin)
  • Cisplatin (Platinol)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Neosar)
  • Docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)
  • Epirubicin (Ellence)
  • Eribulin (Halaven)
  • Fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil)
  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • Ixabepilone (Ixempra)
  • Methotrexate (multiple brand names)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • Protein bound paclitaxel (Abraxane)
  • Vinorelbine (Navelbine)

Common drug combinations for inflammatory breast cancer include:

  • Doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (AC) followed by paclitaxel or docetaxel
  • Docetaxel/cyclophosphamide (TC)
  • Docetaxel/doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide (TAC)

For HER2 positive cancers, chemotherapy is combined with HER2 targeted therapy (see Targeted therapy below).

The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the individual and the drug and the dose used, but they can include fatigue, risk of infection, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. These side effects usually go away once treatment is finished. Rarely, long-term side effects may occur, such as heart damage, nerve damage, or secondary cancers, but studies have shown that these side effects do not shorten a patient’s survival time.

Learn more about chemotherapy and preparing for treatment. The medications used to treat cancer are continually being evaluated. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications prescribed for you, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Learn more about your prescriptions by using searchable drug databases.

Surgery

Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation. It is also used to examine the surrounding axillary or underarm lymph nodes. A surgical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer using surgery.

Because inflammatory breast cancer is usually located throughout the breast and the lymphatic vessels in the skin, it is difficult to remove the entire tumor with negative margins, meaning no cancer is left at the edges of the tissue removed during surgery, if surgery is the first step in treatment. Any cancer left behind during surgery increases the chances of recurrence in the breast and affects wound healing. So, chemotherapy is usually given first in inflammatory breast cancer to shrink and kill the cancer in the breast, improving the chance that surgery will be successful.

The usual surgical treatment for inflammatory breast cancer is the removal of the entire breast, a procedure called a mastectomy. Sometimes, the removal of the tumor and a small, cancer-free margin of tissue around it is possible. This is called a lumpectomy, breast-conserving surgery, a partial mastectomy, or a segmental mastectomy. Talk with your doctor about which surgery is recommended for you, the possible side effects, and how side effects will be relieved. Reconstructive surgery of the breast after mastectomy is discussed below.

Lymph node removal and analysis

Cancer cells are sometimes found in the axillary lymph nodes in some patients. It is important to find out whether any of the lymph nodes near the breast contain cancer as part of the treatment planning.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy. The sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure allows for the removal of one to a few lymph nodes, avoiding the removal of multiple lymph nodes in an axillary lymph node dissection (see below) for patients whose sentinel lymph nodes are free of cancer. The smaller lymph node procedure lowers the risk of swelling of the arm called lymphedema and decreases the risk of numbness, as well as arm movement and range-of-motion problems, which are long-lasting issues that can severely affect a person’s quality of life.

In a sentinel lymph node biopsy, the surgeon finds and removes about one to three sentinel lymph nodes from under the arm that receive lymph drainage from the breast. The pathologist then examines these lymph nodes for cancer cells. To find the sentinel lymph node, the surgeon injects a dye and/or a radioactive tracer into the area of the cancer and/or around the nipple. The dye or tracer travels to the lymph nodes, arriving at the sentinel node first. The surgeon can find the node when it turns color if the dye is used or gives off radiation if the tracer is used.

If the sentinel lymph node is cancer-free, research has shown that it is likely that the remaining lymph nodes will also be free of cancer and no further surgery is needed. If the sentinel lymph node shows that there is cancer, then the surgeon may perform an axillary lymph node dissection to remove more lymph nodes to look for cancer, depending on the stage of the cancer, the features of the tumor, and the amount of cancer in the sentinel lymph nodes. It is recommended that patients with signs of cancer in the axillary lymph nodes receive an axillary lymph node dissection, regardless of whether a sentinel lymph node biopsy is done. Find out more about ASCO's recommendations for sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Axillary lymph node dissection. In an axillary lymph node dissection, the surgeon removes many lymph nodes from under the arm, which are then examined by a pathologist for cancer cells. The actual number of lymph nodes removed varies from person to person. Recent research has shown that an axillary lymph node dissection may not be needed for all women with early-stage breast cancer with small amounts of cancer in the sentinel lymph nodes. Women having a lumpectomy and radiation therapy who have a smaller tumor and no more than two sentinel lymph nodes involved with cancer may avoid a full axillary lymph node dissection, which helps reduce the risk of side effects and does not decrease survival. If cancer is found in the sentinel lymph node, whether more surgery is needed to remove additional lymph nodes depends on each person’s situation.

Most patients with invasive cancer will have either a sentinel lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node dissection. A sentinel lymph node biopsy alone should not be done if there is obvious evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes before any surgery. In this situation, a full axillary lymph node dissection is preferred.

Reconstructive or plastic surgery

Women who receive a mastectomy may wish to consider breast reconstruction, which is surgery to rebuild the breast. Reconstruction may be done with tissue from another part of the body, or with synthetic or artificial implants. In inflammatory breast cancer, the reconstruction is usually not done at the same time as mastectomy, called immediate reconstruction, due to the need for radiation therapy. However, many women may consider future or delayed reconstruction. Talk with your doctor for more information.

Learn more about cancer surgery.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist. The most common type of radiation treatment is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation given from a machine outside the body. When radiation treatment is given using implants, it is called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy.

A radiation therapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time. Standard radiation therapy after a mastectomy is given to the chest wall for five days (Monday through Friday) for five to six weeks. Standard radiation therapy after a lumpectomy is external-beam radiation therapy given daily for five days per week (Monday through Friday) for six to seven weeks. This usually includes radiation therapy to the whole breast first for four-and-a-half to five weeks, followed by a more focused treatment to the area where the tumor was located in the breast for the remaining treatments. This focused part of the treatment, called a boost, is standard for women with invasive breast cancer to reduce the risk of a recurrence in the breast. If there is evidence of cancer in the underarm lymph nodes, radiation therapy may also be given to the lymph node areas in the neck or underarm near the breast or chest wall. There has been growing interest in newer radiation regimens to shorten the length of treatment from six to seven weeks to periods of three to four weeks. However, these regimens have not been studied in patients with inflammatory breast cancer. As always, patients should talk with their doctors about available options for radiation therapy, as well as the advantages, and disadvantages of these options.

Adjuvant radiation therapy is radiation treatment after surgery. It is effective in reducing the chance of breast cancer returning in both the breast and the chest wall. Adjuvant radiation therapy is nearly always recommended for patients with inflammatory breast cancer after mastectomy, because of the high risk of cancer cells being left behind on the chest wall. Neoadjuvant radiation therapy is radiation therapy given before surgery to shrink a large tumor, which makes it easier to remove, although this approach is rare.

Radiation therapy can cause side effects, including fatigue, swelling of the breast, and skin changes. Other side effects may include upset stomach, and loose bowel movements. Most side effects go away soon after treatment is finished. A small amount of the lung can be affected by the radiation, although the risk of pneumonitis, or a radiation-related inflammation of the lung tissue, is low. In the past, with older equipment and techniques of radiation therapy, women treated for left-sided breast cancers had a small increase in the long-term risk of heart disease. Modern techniques are now able to spare most of the heart from radiation damage. Talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of your radiation therapy plan and how they will be managed.

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells.

Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets. To find the most effective treatment, your doctor may run tests to identify the genes, proteins, and other factors in your tumor. As a result, doctors can better match each patient with the most effective treatment whenever possible. In addition, many research studies are taking place now to find out more about specific molecular targets and new treatments directed at them. Learn more about targeted treatments.

HER2 is a specialized protein found on breast cancer cells that controls cancer growth and spread. As explained in Diagnosis, if an inflammatory breast cancer tests positive for HER2, targeted therapy may be an option for treatment. HER2-positive inflammatory breast cancer may be treated with the drugs trastuzumab, pertuzumab, lapatinib, and/or ado-trastuzumab emtansine. HER2-targeted therapy is usually given in combination with chemotherapy, and then after the completion of chemotherapy. Patients receiving HER2-targeted therapies have a small risk of heart problems, and this risk is increased if a patient has other risk factors for heart disease. These heart problems do not always go away, but they are usually treatable with medication. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects for a specific medication and how they can be managed. Other targeted treatments are being tested in clinical trials; see the Latest Research section for more information.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy helps manage a tumor that tests positive for either estrogen (ER) or progesterone receptors (PR; See Diagnosis) in all stages of breast cancer. A small percentage of inflammatory breast cancers have these receptors and might benefit from the use of hormone therapy following chemotherapy and radiation, or as treatment for metastatic disease. Find additional information about hormone therapy in the breast cancer treatment section.

Getting care for symptoms and side effects

Cancer and its treatment often cause side effects. In addition to treatment to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer, an important part of cancer care is relieving a person’s symptoms and side effects. This approach is called palliative or supportive care, and it includes supporting the patient with his or her physical, emotional, and social needs.

Palliative care can help a person at any stage of illness. People often receive treatment for the cancer and treatment to ease side effects at the same time. In fact, patients who receive both often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to eliminate the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan.

Before treatment begins, talk with your health care team about the possible side effects of your specific treatment plan and supportive care options. And during and after treatment, be sure to tell your doctor or another health care team member if you are experiencing a problem so it is addressed as quickly as possible. Learn more about palliative care.

Metastatic inflammatory breast cancer

If cancer has spread to another location in the body, it is called metastatic cancer. Patients with this diagnosis are encouraged to talk with doctors who are experienced in treating this stage of cancer, because there can be different opinions about the best treatment plan. Learn more about seeking a second opinion before starting treatment, so you are comfortable with the treatment plan chosen. This discussion may include clinical trials.

Your health care team may recommend a treatment plan that includes a combination of the treatments discussed above. Supportive care will also be important to help relieve symptoms and side effects.

For most patients, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer is very stressful and, at times, difficult to bear. Patients and their families are encouraged to talk about the way they are feeling with doctors, nurses, social workers, or other members of the health care team. It may also be helpful to talk with other patients, including through a support group.

Remission and the chance of recurrence

A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called “no evidence of disease” or NED.

A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty leads to many survivors feeling worried or anxious that the cancer will come back. While many remissions are permanent, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding the risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.

If the cancer does return after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place (called a local recurrence), nearby (regional recurrence), or in another place (distant recurrence).

When this occurs, a cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including whether the cancer’s stage has changed. After testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about your treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the therapies described above such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Your doctor may also suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer.

People with recurrent cancer often experience emotions such as disbelief or fear. Patients are encouraged to talk with their health care team about these feelings and ask about support services to help them cope. Learn more about dealing with cancer recurrence.

If treatment fails

Recovery from inflammatory breast cancer is not always possible. If treatment is not successful, the disease may be called advanced or terminal cancer.

This diagnosis is stressful, and it may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your doctor and health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families. Making sure a person is physically comfortable and free from pain is extremely important.

Patients who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than six months may want to consider a type of palliative care called hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to think about where you would be most comfortable: at home, in the hospital, or in a hospice environment. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable alternative for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

The next section helps explain clinical trials, which are research studies. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select About Clinical Trials, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - About Clinical Trials

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn more about clinical trials, which are the main way that new medical approaches are tested to see how well they work. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to treat patients with different types of breast cancer. To make scientific advances, doctors create research studies involving volunteers, called clinical trials.

Many clinical trials are focused on new treatments, evaluating whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the current (standard) treatment. These types of studies evaluate new drugs, different combinations of existing treatments, new approaches to radiation therapy or surgery, and new methods of treatment. Patients who participate in clinical trials are often among the first to receive new treatments before they are widely available. However, there is no guarantee that the new treatment will be safe, effective, or better than a standard treatment.

There are also clinical trials that study new ways to ease symptoms and side effects during treatment and manage the late effects that may occur after treatment. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials regarding side effects. In addition, there are ongoing studies about ways to prevent the disease.

Patients decide to participate in clinical trials for many reasons. For some patients, a clinical trial is the best treatment option available. Because standard treatments are not perfect, patients are often willing to face the added uncertainty of a clinical trial in the hope of a better result. Other patients volunteer for clinical trials because they know that these studies are the only way to make progress in treating breast cancer. Even if they do not benefit directly from the clinical trial, their participation may benefit future patients with breast cancer. Sometimes people have concerns that, by participating in a clinical trial, they may receive no treatment by being given a placebo or a “sugar pill.” The use of placebos in cancer clinical trials is rare. When a placebo is used in a study, it is done with the full knowledge of the participants. Find out more about placebos in cancer clinical trials.

To join a clinical trial, patients must participate in a process known as informed consent. During informed consent, the doctor should list all of the patient's options, so that the person understands the standard treatment, and how the new treatment differs from the standard treatment. The doctor must also list all of the risks of the new treatment, which may or may not be different from the risks of standard treatment. Finally, the doctor must explain what will be required of each patient in order to participate in the clinical trial, including the number of doctor visits, tests, and the schedule of treatment.

For specific topics being studied for breast cancer, learn more in the Latest Research section.

Patients who participate in a clinical trial may stop participating at any time for any personal or medical reason. This may include that the new treatment is not working or there are serious side effects. Clinical trials are also closely monitored by experts who watch for any problems with each study. It is important that patients participating in a clinical trial talk with their doctor and researchers about who will be providing their treatment and care during the clinical trial, after the clinical trial ends, and/or if the patient chooses to leave the clinical trial before it ends.

Cancer.Net offers a lot of information about cancer clinical trials in other areas of the website, including a complete section on clinical trials and places to search for clinical trials for a specific type of cancer.

The next section helps explain the areas of research going on today about this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Latest Research, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about inflammatory breast cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Drug combinations. There is interest in treating inflammatory cancer with specific drug combinations that might improve the chances of effective surgery. For advanced disease, treatments targeted to how a cancer grows are being studied.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current breast cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding breast cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for breast cancer.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Coping With Side Effects

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about steps to take to help cope with physical, social, and emotional side effects. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of cancer, but it may help to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your health care team. This is called palliative or supportive care, and it is an important part of the overall treatment plan, regardless of the stage of disease.

Common side effects from each treatment option for inflammatory breast cancer are described in detail within the Treatment Options section. Learn more about the most common side effects of cancer and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them. Side effects depend on a variety of factors, including the cancer’s stage, the length and dosage of treatment(s), and your overall health.

Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects of each type of treatment you will be receiving. Ask which side effects are most likely to happen, when they are likely to occur, and what can be done to prevent or relieve them. And, ask about the level of caregiving you may need during treatment and recovery, as family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a person with inflammatory breast cancer. Learn more about caregiving.

In addition to physical side effects, there may be emotional and social effects as well. Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies, including concerns about managing the cost of your cancer care.

During and after treatment, be sure to tell the health care team about the side effects you experience, even if you feel they are not serious. Sometimes, side effects can last beyond the treatment period, called a long-term side effect. A side effect that occurs months or years after treatment is called a late effect. Treatment of both types of effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the After Treatment section or talking with your doctor.

The next section helps explain medical tests and check-ups needed after finishing cancer treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select After Treatment, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - After Treatment

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for breast cancer ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. ASCO’s recommendations for breast cancer follow-up care include regular physical examinations and mammograms, among other recommendations. In addition, ASCO offers cancer treatment summaries and a survivorship care plan to help keep track of the breast cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed. In some instances, patients may be seen at survivorship clinics that specialize in the post-treatment needs of people with cancer.

Breast cancer can come back in the breast or other areas of the body. The symptoms of a cancer recurrence include a new lump in the breast, under the arm, or along the chest wall; bone pain or fractures; headaches or seizures; chronic coughing or trouble breathing; extreme fatigue; and/or feeling ill. Talk with your doctor if you have these or other symptoms. The possibility of recurrence is a common concern among cancer survivors; learn more about coping with fear of recurrence.

After a mastectomy or lumpectomy to treat breast cancer, the breast area may be scarred and may have a different shape or size than before surgery. If lymph nodes were removed as part of the surgery or affected during treatment, a condition called lymphedema that causes swelling of the hand and/or arm may occur, and this is a life-long risk for patients.

Some patients experience breathlessness, a dry cough, and/or chest pain two to three months after finishing radiation therapy because the treatment can cause swelling and hardening or thickening of the lungs, called fibrosis. These symptoms are usually temporary. Talk with your doctor if you develop any new symptoms after radiation therapy or if the side effects are not going away.

Patients who received trastuzumab or certain types of chemotherapy called anthracyclines may be at risk of heart problems. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to check for heart problems.

In addition, women recovering from breast cancer have other symptoms that may last after treatment. Learn about ways of coping with cancer-related fatigue, a drop in cognitive function that is sometimes called "chemobrain", and other late effects of cancer treatment.

Women recovering from breast cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended cancer screening tests. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. Moderate physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level and may lower the risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor can help you create a safe exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Questions to Ask the Doctor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your child’s next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your child’s care.

  • What type of breast cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage of my cancer?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What are the chances that the cancer be successfully treated?
  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during treatment?
  • Now that you have examined me, am I a good candidate for reconstruction?
  • What types of breast reconstruction options do I have?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type?
  • What are the chances the cancer will come back after treatment?
  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who is going to help coordinate my treatment and follow-up care?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

For additional questions, see the Guide to Breast Cancer.

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Breast Cancer - Inflammatory - Additional Resources

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some helpful links to other areas of Cancer.Net that provide information about cancer care and treatment. This is the final page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Inflammatory Breast Cancer. To go back and review other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Cancer.Net includes many other sections about the medical and emotional aspects of cancer, both for the person diagnosed and their family members and friends. This website is meant to be a resource for you and your loved ones from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. Here are a few sections that may get you started in exploring the rest of Cancer.Net:

- Search for a cancer specialist in your local area using this free database of doctors from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.