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Inflammatory Breast Cancer or hormone changes?
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer or hormone changes?

I have a history of fibrocystic breasts.  Last year I developed itchy, rash near collarbone.  Got ointment from dr. Rash goes but comes back.  Last Sept., both breasts became extremely swollen.  Had severe itching around both breasts.  A few, small red bumps appeared.  Would disappear then re-appear.  Had intense, throbbing, stabbing pain.  Breasts swollen since last Sept.  Itching and red bumps have not reoccurred.  Mammogram was inconclusive due to breast tissue density increase since last mammogram. Saw Specialist.  Lumps found to be cysts with ultrasound.  Had breast MRI.  No solid masses found.  Gave up bras, caffeine, and chocolate. Started Vitamin E capsules as recommended to help reduce occurrence of cysts.  

Had some relief by following treatment.  Became pregnant in May, 2007 with major breast pain/tenderness.  New symptoms: Nipple and aereola texture changed significantly.  Nipples slightly flattened.  Uneven thickening of aereola, pink skin on breast (about 6 inch diameter circle around both aereolas) and some p'au d'orange on aereolas and skin.  They are warm to touch, however, never any discharge.  Thought these were symptoms of being pregnant.  During 1st prenatal dr. visit, the doctor asked about symptoms.  Another dr. examined me.  Both agreed something was unusual (had never seen breasts appear that way in any of their patients).  Was told to see my breast specialist since higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy can be a catalyst for tumor growth.

Had MRI.  No solid mass found.  Had random core needle biopsies in both breasts, results came back fine. However, dr. said it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack with no mass found.  My questions are:  Does it sound like inflammatory breast cancer?  Should I get another opinion?  Is skin punch biopsy recommended for Inflammatory Breast Cancer? Could these drastic changes be simply hormone related?  Thank you in advance for any advice.
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242529_tn?1292452814
Dear paigeM,  Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is a rare type of breast cancer accounts for only 1 to 4 percent of all breast cancers.  It is called inflammatory because the symptoms are usually a redness and warmth in the skin of the breast, often without a distinct lump.  The skin on the breast like anywhere else on the body is susceptible to rashes/irritations etc.  It is not possible to say what this is without benefit of further questioning and physical examination.  

In the classic definition of inflammatory breast cancer, cancer cells are seen in the lymph channels under the skin. A punch skin biopsy may be done in selective cases, however the initial diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer is usually made with other techniques.

Decisions about any further evaluation would need to be determined based on findings of your tests/examinations.  If you are still concerned after discussion of your results with your breast doctor, a second opinion is always an option for you.

5 Comments
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Thank you for replying.  I appreciate it.  I think a second opinion may be the way to go for me.
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214065_tn?1251292477
Hi paigeM, I am experiencing the same problems throughout my pregnancy. I had the MRI and biopsies and everything came out fine, but I have this lump underneath my underarm that causes me to have breast pain. I have not been diagnosed with fibrocystic breast but do you think this could be? I had a fine needle aspiration done in the mass and that came back with abnormalities. I’m scheduled to get it removed after I give birth. The doctor hopes this will decrease the swelling and pain in my breast. He told me if it was IBC that it would get progressively worse, so I don’t know if your symptoms are, if so seek many opinions until you get an answer.

Be Blessed
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had 2 breast reductions - 1 by lyposuction, the other the full procedure.  Each time, my right breast has grown back.  After the lypo it doubled in size.  I compared myself to an orange on my left and a cantalope on my right.  The full procedure was better but now I describe myself as a flat tire with a bulge.  My right breast is about 2 cup sizes larger than my left.  I too have had 'hot' skin and am very firm.  I have had mamos, ultrasounds and an mri - the only thing that is consistent is I have very dense breast tissue.  When reading the mamos and the mri, all doctors are surprised by how 'white' the pictures are.  I understand that to be tissue and not fat.  I'm 47, why would my breast start growing again???  Any suggestions?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi coloagurl, what type of biopsy did you have if you don't mind my asking.  Is the pain on or around the lump itself?  To answer your question about having a cyst, I can only go by my own personal experience with fibrocystic breasts.  I've had problems with cysts for over 20 years.  I always have more than one "large" cyst and multiple small ones at any given time.  They never go away after my cycle is over.  And the pain had always been around the cyst itself for me.  Sometimes I think it is hormones out of whack that cause alot of breast changes.

Thanks for the input on the IBC.  I am seeing a specialist monthly.  I hope you are feeling well and congratulations on your pregnancy!  I am sending you positive thoughts and wishing you the best.  Please keep me updated on how you are doing.

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