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No-Lump Breast Cancer: Silent Killer on the Loose

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Christiene Bowden

No-lump breast cancer is invasive and highly aggressive form of cancer. Good news, though it is rare.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer does not produce a lump so it can go unnoticed; in fact, it can pass simply as inflammation of the breast, which the doctor may initially prescribe antibiotics for. However, unlike ordinary breast infection that also causes swelling of the breast, Inflammatory Breast Cancer will not respond favorably to antibiotics. It is a form of breast cancer that spreads rapidly; unless detected earlier, survival is very slim.

Suzanne G. Beaver of Camarillo, 47, dismissed her engorged breasts as pre-menstrual syndrome and just got busier at work hoping that her condition would improve. Three weeks later, she was told she had inflammatory breast cancer.

Dr. Tim Moynihan, a cancer specialist at the Mayo Clinic, cited in one of his published articles the typical danger signs of inflammatory breast cancer:

1. The breast can become engorged and tender.

2. Inflammatory Breast Cancer causes the breast to appear red, enlarged and feel warm

to the touch.

3. There is an absence of a lump, but the entire breast would swell.

Mastitis is a breast disease that causes inflammation of the breast and is often accompanied by fever. At the onset, inflammatory breast cancer has the symptoms similar to mastitis that it can be easily considered as such, but unlike mastitis that responds quickly to medication, inflammatory breast cancer is very rarely accompanied by fever and antibiotic treatment may not help.

How bad can it get?

The course of treatment between the common type of breast cancer and the inflammatory type differs. For one, chemotherapy may be started right away among patients suffering from inflammatory breast cancer, prior to removing the diseased breast. This is to allow the skin of the breast to heal first before the operation. With inflammatory type of breast cancer, the skin surrounding the breast can become red and swollen; this makes it difficult for doctors to operate on the breast.

Mastectomy does not guarantee cancer will not recur among women suffering from the inflammatory type. This is primarily the reason why there is a need to put the patient on radiation therapy even if mastectomy has already been performed on the breast. Incidence of recurrence can be high due to the condition of the skin on the breast region.

At the first sign of a rash or inflammation on the local region of the breast, you should take a closer look. The problem may not be as simple as you think!

Sometimes, it is better to worry a bit (without becoming paranoid), than be sorry about it.

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