Has the inflammatory breast cancer spread?

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Question from Cathy: My axillary lymph nodes were removed 11 years ago from first go-around with cancer. I was subsequently diagnosed with IBC in the same breast. There were no lymph nodes to take this time. How do I know for sure that the cancer did not spread?
Answers - Thomas Buchholz When inflammatory breast cancer develops in a breast that has already been treated for breast cancer, the first step would be to perform a series of staging tests to assure that the cancer has not spread. It is correct that once the axillary lymph nodes have been removed, there may not be more removed at the time of surgery. But otherwise, the treatments would be the same with initially finding the extent of the disease, beginning with chemotherapy, subsequently performing a mastectomy, and then considering radiation. Some of the chemotherapy and radiation decisions may also depend on the previous breast cancer treatment.

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 Breastcancer.org. 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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