Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rare breast cancer serious and aggressive

INFLAMMATORY breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer which accounts for about one percent of all breast cancer patients in Liverpool.

Director of radiation oncology at the Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Professor Geoff Delaney, treats three to four patients a year.

“It is a particularly serious type of cancer and because it is rare, it's not always the first thing a patient or GP thinks about," he said.

“IBC can present in different ways to more common forms of breast cancer and is often mistaken to be an infection and treated with anti-biotics."

Inflammatory breast cancer spreads along and blocks the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast and can be difficult to diagnose because there is usually no lump.

Signs of inflammatory breast cancer may include inflamed, swollen and tender breasts where the skin can appear dimpled or pitted, like an orange peel.

If diagnosed, all three types of cancer treatment is needed.

“Anyone with an inflamed looking red-hot breast should see their GP urgently," Professor Geoff Delaney said.

“The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely treatment is successful."

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