Aggressive breast cancer often overlooked

cancer awarenessEvery October, we see signs of Breast Cancer Awareness Month everywhere, from fundraising walks to pink socks on NFL players. The spotlight on breast cancer shines brightly, but what you may not have heard about is a type of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive form of the disease that’s not detected by mammograms.

This rare form of breast cancer affects 1 to 5 percent of breast cancer patients. Inflammatory breast cancer has the ability to grow and spread in just a few weeks, spreading to the lymph nodes and other sites quickly. Standard breast cancer treatments also aren’t always effective in treating this rare form of the disease.

Symptoms of the disease include redness and noticeable swelling. It can be misdiagnosed as mastitis, an infection of the breast. If you’ve been diagnosed with mastitis and antibiotic treatment has not worked after two weeks, consult your doctor about a biopsy. If you’re diagnosed with this form of breast cancer, experts recommend that you seek care at a facility with experience in treating the disease.