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Could I have inflammatory breast cancer?

By Anonymous October 15, 2015 - 5:21pm
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Heat and stinging, stabbing pain radiating through my breast to my armpit & collarbone. Itching in breast. No redness or puckering. Mammogram " normal" but 2 cysts, one with dilated duct.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thank you for your post. I know that we all dread when "something" is seen on a mammogram. I can understand why you are asking this question, based on your symptoms, even if there is no redness (a common symptom).

Inflammatory breast cancer doesn’t have to have a lump. In fact, it can start out with redness of the skin. It may cause your breast to enlarge or swell, be tender, warm to the touch, look like an infection, or look like mastitis, which can happen during breast-feeding! The cancer cells plug up the lymphatic vessels in the skin, not allowing fluid to drain away, which causes the breast to change color and swell.

This is a fairly uncommon cancer, although aggressive in nature. It doesn’t improve with antibiotics if you suspected an infection, nor does it improve with typical mastitis treatments. Women may suspect they have a rash on their breast and let it go before seeing their healthcare practitioner. Don’t wait! If you have any of these symptoms and they do not improve after treatment, then see your doctor! Typical diagnosis is made through mammogram, possibly ultrasound or MRI and biopsy. Because there isn’t a lump, biopsy of the skin is important.

Anon, it may be nothing at all - it may be due to the cysts. It probably is! But I would err on the side of caution and ask your doctor to perform a biopsy for ease of mind.

Will you please keep us updated?


October 16, 2015 - 5:27am
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