Inflammatory breast cancer is very uncommon to the point of being rare.
Inflammatory breast cancer displays the same symptoms that may occur with inflammation, like swelling, skin redness, and an orange peel like texture of the skin. But this does not mean that IBC (or its symptoms) is caused by infection or injury. The symptoms of IBC are caused by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels in the skin.
Inflammatory breast cancer that has spread outside of the breast and nearby lymph nodes is stage IV.
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is considered an aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread at the time it is found, and is more likely to come back after treatment than most other types of breast cancer. The prognosis (outlook) is generally not as good as it is for most other types of breast cancer.
The reported median survival for Stage IV IBC is 21 months. Median survival is the length of time for half of the patients in a group to have died.
(From the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, 1990 and 2008).
Patients with metastatic disease (Stage IV) are treated with some type of systemic therapy.
Below is an ongoing anecdotal report on inflammatory breast cancer in a 94-year-old female.
Will continue to monitor and give an update in the near future for better understanding of inflammatory breast cancer.
I call it palliation with hope.
Treat the terminally-ill patient with palliative measures but still with hope for recovery albeit small.
A tall order for any physician and patients and relatives as well. Extent of palliative measures will be decided by all stakeholders.