- Question from CWH: Is there any way that DCIS or invasive ductal carcinoma could "turn" into IBC? I was diagnosed with DCIS in 2004, then IDC earlier this year. I'm currently in chemo to be followed by radiation. I have noticed a pink area adjacent to my original mastectomy scar and a hard spot underneath it. Ultrasound and mammogram were clear, but I'm still uneasy about it due to my history.
- Answers - Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, M.D., F.A.C.P. We don't know whether there is a natural sequence from one type of cancer or precancerous lesions to inflammatory breast cancer. We do know that after breast conserving surgery, there can be redness of the skin and skin edema (swelling) as a result of both the surgical operation and possibly radiation. Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether those changes represent a recurrence of the disease in the form of inflammatory breast cancer or simply post-surgical or post-treatment changes. Depending on the degree of suspicion of whether it is a recurrence or not, and depending on what imaging like ultrasound and mammography show, one might or might not want to do a biopsy to evaluate those changes. This is really a situation where being assessed by someone whose expertise within breast cancer management is really important.
- Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.C.S. I agree. It's important to emphasize that after surgery, especially a lymph dissection, there may often be swelling and redness of the skin. We frequently see it, and it usually gets better with time. If it continues to deteriorate or it gets worse, that's when we'd consider doing a biopsy.
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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