It is estimated that between 1% and 5% of all newly diagnosed breast cancers each year present as IBC; because of its rarity, it is listed with the Office of Rare Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. While the number of cases of IBC is relatively small compared with the overall number of breast cancers, it is still a substantial number compared with many other rare tumor types. The clinical signs and symptoms associated with IBC may be subjective in nature, but an enlarged and edematous breast with diffuse erythema of the skin should bring up IBC in the differential diagnosis in every clinical situation in which these findings are seen. Other clinical features seen in women with IBC are younger age at diagnosis, African American race, and higher body mass index. Given that for the majority of patients with IBC the prognosis is poor with standard therapy, all patients with the disease should be encouraged to participate in a clinical trial. We cannot use the small number of cases as an excuse for the lack of clinical trials; rather, we should view it as a mandate for making novel treatment strategies available to all patients with this diagnosis.
Have We Made Progress in Inflammatory Breast Cancer? Not So Fast – Cancer Network