How is extent of IBC determined?

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Question from Wayne: How does a surgeon determine the extent of the IBC after it has been visually eliminated by the chemotherapy? How do they determine the extent of the disease?
Answers - Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.C.S. When a mastectomy is performed, the surgeon will generally go in and remove the nipple and areola and as much of the overlying skin that has the inflammatory characteristics as they can. There are certain margins when the breast is removed, such as the collarbone, breastbone, and a line out of the arm that determine the edges of every mastectomy. The additional tissues that are removed under the arm, the axillary lymph nodes, is standard for both regular breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer. If there are additional tissues involved outside the axillary, they will be removed as well. The final extent is really determined by the pathologist.
Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, M.D., F.A.C.P. There is much interest, although no definitive proof, in using presurgical imaging such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or PET (positron emission tomography) in an attempt to guide the surgeon in finding the extent. Additional research will be needed to validate that.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Inflammatory Breast Cancer featured Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., Thomas Buchholz, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D. answering your questions about inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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