Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can cause other breast changes besides a lump. Inflammatory breast cancer doesn’t usually develop a noticeable lump and causes the breast to look red and swollen and sometimes feel hot to the touch, and is a particularly fast moving cancer. It is also a very rare form of cancer, making up only 1%-5% of breast cancer cases in the U.S.

What to Look For:

  • discoloration of the breast
  • skin on the breast takes on a pitted, “orange peel” appearance
  • breast feels heavier, has a burning sensation or is tender
  • breast becomes larger in a very short period of time
  • inverted nipples

Some of these symptoms can also be due to other factors such as a woman’s cycle or an infection such as mastitis. Men can also get inflammatory breast cancer. The most important thing to remember is that if you think something is wrong, talk to your doctor, and if you aren’t satisfied with the first opinion, get another one.

For more information and support for people with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, visit the IBC Network Foundation.

Sources: Cancer.gov, BreastCancer.org

Mastitis

Mastitis is an infection in the breast that, though not very common, most often occurs during the first six months of breast feeding.

Symptoms of Mastitis:

  • tenderness in the breast or breast is warm to the touch
  • swelling of the breast
  • redness of the breast
  • generally feeling bad/malaise
  • fever

Symptoms typically improve within 2 days of beginning antibiotics. If symptoms do not improve, follow up with your doctor as soon as possible as they may indicate a more serious health problem.

Source: Mayo Clinic