What does the beginning of inflammatory breast cancer look like? Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include swelling (edema) and redness (erythema) that affect a third or more of the breast. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, reddish purple, or bruised. In addition, the skin may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d’orange).
Where does inflammatory breast cancer usually start? Doctors know that inflammatory breast cancer begins when a breast cell develops changes in its DNA. Most often the cell is located in one of the tubes (ducts) that carry breast milk to the nipple. But the cancer can also begin with a cell in the glandular tissue (lobules) where breast milk is produced.
How quickly does inflammatory breast cancer develop? Inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly, often in a matter of weeks or months. At diagnosis, inflammatory breast cancer is either stage III or IV disease, depending on whether cancer cells have spread only to nearby lymph nodes or to other tissues as well.
Does inflammatory breast cancer appear suddenly? Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms can appear quite suddenly. Inflammatory breast cancer is often confused with an infection of the breast (mastitis). This is because the symptoms are very similar.