Inflammatory breast cancer on the rise
Inflammatory breast cancer is a distinct form of breast cancer which is usually associated with locally advanced disease and more rapid progression. Researchers from George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, have studied the incidence and survival trends for inflammatory breast in Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program data with a case definition designed to capture many of its unique clinical and pathologic characteristics. The research was headed by Kenneth W. Hance, William F. Anderson, Susan S. Devesa, Heather A. Young, Paul H. Levine. These findings are published in the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers analyzed breast cancer cases diagnosed in the SEER 9 Registries numbering to a total of 180, 224 between 1988 and 2000. They compared changes in incidence rates over 3-year intervals by breast cancer subtype and race using SEER Stat. Survival differences by breast cancer subtype and race were assessed using Kaplan–Meier curves and log-rank statistics.
The study has found that incidence of inflammatory breast cancer has increased from 2.0 per 100,000 women-years to 2.5 per 100,000 women years where as the incidence of non-inflammatory locally advanced breast cancer has decreased from 2.5 to 2.0. Inflammatory breast cancer was more common in African Americans. They were also found to have a shorter survival with this disease. Women who were diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer also had poor survival compared to non-inflammatory locally advanced breast cancer. The average age at diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer was 58.8 years, which is about 3 to 7 years younger, compared to the average age of women diagnosed with other forms of breast cancer.
More about inflammatory breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of breast cancer in which breast cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This blockage may cause the breast to become red, swollen, and warm. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, purple, or bruised, and it may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d'orange). These changes often occur quickly over a period of weeks. Another possible sign of this type of breast cancer is swollen lymph nodes under the arm, above the collarbone, or in both places. Often, a tumor cannot be felt, and may not be seen on a mammogram. The diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer is based on the results of the biopsy and the doctor's clinical judgment.
Inflammatory breast cancer generally grows rapidly, and the cancer cells often spread to other parts of the body. A woman with inflammatory breast cancer usually has local treatment to remove or destroy the cancer in the breast and systemic treatment to control or kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body. Local treatment affects only cells in the tumor and the area close to it; systemic treatment affects cells throughout the body. The local treatment may be surgery and/or radiation therapy to the breast and underarm. The systemic treatment may be chemotherapy (anticancer drugs), hormonal therapy (drugs that interfere with the effects of the female hormone estrogen), or both. Systemic treatment is generally given before surgery and/or radiation therapy. In some cases, local treatment may be followed by additional systemic treatment with hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, or both. Some women also may have biological therapy (which stimulates the immune system to fight the cancer).