Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare type of breast cancer in which the lymph vessels in the breast become blocked by cancerous cells. This type of breast cancer accounts for less than 4 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute, but requires a highly specialized approach to treatment. 

There are several significant differences between IBC and other types of the disease. Inflammatory breast cancer:

  • Does not cause a defined “bump” in the breast tissue; instead, the primary symptoms are swelling and inflammation of the breast
  • Does not always show up on a mammogram; women who develop IBC often have dense breast tissue that complicates the imaging process
  • Tends to grow very quickly; it is always classified as either stage 3 or stage 4 breast cancer at the time of diagnosis

Inflammatory breast cancer is one of the many cancers treated by the cancer specialists at Tampa General Hospital. We have the experience and diagnostic technologies necessary to distinguish between each of the different types of breast cancer, and our oncologists use the details of each patient’s case to customize his or her treatment plan. Additionally, we take a patient-based approach to care. This means that we don’t simply design a treatment plan based on the patient’s diagnosis; we take into account the patient’s personal preferences (such as the ability to breastfeed after treatment) to enhance each patient’s quality of life.

As a multi-specialty center, we provide patients with the unique opportunity to consult with surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and a team of supportive care providers in a single, convenient location. Minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and integrative medicine services are among the state-of-the-art treatments that patients with inflammatory breast cancer and other forms of breast cancer can receive at Tampa General.