It's very important to treat
this cancer as soon as possible. And more than one type of treatment may be
needed. Treatment starts with anticancer drugs, called
chemotherapy. These drugs help shrink the cancer.
Some tests will be done to help find which medicines will work
best for you. These tests look at cancer cells from your biopsy to find out
what kind of cancer you have. These tests include:
- Estrogen and progesterone receptor status. The
hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of normal breast cells,
as well as some breast cancers. Hormone receptor status is an important piece
of information that will help you and your doctor plan
- HER-2 receptor status. HER-2/neu is a
protein that regulates the growth of some breast cancer cells. About one-third of
women with breast cancer have too much (overexpression) of this
Chemotherapy is usually followed by surgery (breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy). During surgery, some of the lymph nodes are removed. Afterwards, most women have radiation therapy.
More chemotherapy or
hormone therapy (or both) may be used after radiation,
especially if cancer has spread to the
Women who test positive for HER-2 may be treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin) during chemotherapy and afterwards.
Talk with your doctor about taking part in a
clinical trial. Many women who have inflammatory breast cancer are good
candidates for clinical trials, which study new treatments for IBC and better ways to use current treatments.
How do you cope with having inflammatory breast cancer?
Finding out that you have this cancer is scary, because it is a very
serious disease. But there is reason for hope, because treatment is improving.
These days, many women are still free of cancer, some even 15 years and
You may want to talk with your doctor
about whether you are a good candidate for
genetic testing for breast cancer. This can help other
members of your family to understand more about their risk of breast
Talking with others who have the disease can help. Because
the disease is so rare, finding a support group can be hard. Your local chapter of the American Cancer Society may be able to help you find a support group.
For more information about inflammatory breast cancer, see the
Breast Cancer - Health Professional Information [NCI PDQ]
Breast Cancer - Patient Information [NCI PDQ]