Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 4/29/2019

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that spreads to the lymphatic system, causing signs and symptoms of inflammation in the involved breast. It is an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Many breast cancers do not cause symptoms or signs at diagnosis, but inflammatory breast cancer is different. It produces characteristic symptoms including swelling, warmth, and redness of the breast. Other associated symptoms can include pitting, skin changes, dimpling, bruising, inversion of the nipple, burning pain, tenderness, and a rapid increase in the size of the breast. Enlarged lymph nodes in the underarm or beneath the collarbone may be present.

Causes of inflammatory breast cancer

The causes of inflammatory breast cancer are unknown.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/29/2019

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