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Breast Cancer spread to skin
I was diagnosed with Stage 3c breast cancer Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, positive lymph nodes.  (This is the second time I had breast cancer in that breast)  There were 3 tumors and I was treated with Taxotere and Cytoxin for 4 treatments.  The cancer did not respond, but grew and spread.  I believe I had 5 tumors when they finally did the mastectomy.  Due to some complications - a blood clot and they also discovered a hole in my heart - surgery was postponed for 2 months.  During this time, the skin on the affected breast was dimpled (which they said may be from the first time I had radiation therapy) and it became very, very itchy, the nipple and areola was extremely hard.  It was not red or inflamed, but I asked the surgeon if they were going to do a biopsy of the skin during surgery.  They did and found that the cancer had spread to the skin.  They thought they got all of the cancer from the skin, but pathology called later to say they didn't get clean margins.  All of that being said.  Since the cancer did not originate in the skin, is that why it is not considered inflammatory breast cancer?  And, secondly, when cancer metastesizes to an organ it is considered stage IV.  Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but why was my cancer not staged as stage IV, since skin is considered an organ?
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492898 tn?1222247198
Kathy, I had IBC stage 3 C, and I had chemo, (TAC) first, then surgery, radiation and now hormonal treatment. You are asking some good questions and I am wondering if not in fact you may have had IBC.

With me, and the skin being involved, and 15 some positive lymph nodes even after chemo, I was still considered stage 3, even if the lymph nodes were described as having 'metastatic ' disease.

Now I know that when cancer recurs in the skin, as in the form of skin mets, then this is considered metastatatic disease and stage 4. (I am currently worried that this is happening to me)

So my point is that you move to stage 4 when the cancer comes back in the skin or elsewhere other than localized, and/or to spreads to other places.

This is all I know, and I hope helps some. So sorry about all your stuff going on.

KATRIN
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