Dr. Harness shares how inflammatory breast cancer is diagnosed.
Dr. Harness, M.D.:
The diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer involves multiple things: absolutely mammograms, you can never forget about the other breast. While we are focused on the one that’s red and swollen, we can never forget about the other breast.
So mammograms, ultrasound will often show us the thickening of the skin and the lymphatic channels right underneath the skin, a core biopsy then of the main mass, plus often we can do a punch biopsy of the skin to show that those lymphatic channels right underneath the surface of the skin are involved.
Breast MRI is very important here, not only to look at the breast itself because all these patients are going to need chemotherapy first, but to look at the extent of the swelling or the involvement of the lymph nodes, not only in the armpit area but inside the chest or up here at the base of the neck.
And all inflammatory breast cancer patients need to have their whole body worked up because the chance that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body. And typically that now involves a CT/PET scan to see if other areas of the body are involved.
About Dr. Harness, M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness, M.D., is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.