It's not clear what causes inflammatory breast cancer.
Doctors know that inflammatory breast cancer begins with an abnormal cell in one of the breast's ducts. Mutations within the abnormal cell's DNA instruct it to grow and divide rapidly. The accumulating abnormal cells infiltrate and clog the lymphatic vessels in the skin of your breast. The blockage in the lymphatic vessels causes red, swollen and dimpled skin — a classic sign of inflammatory breast cancer.
March 12, 2015
- Breast cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Feb. 18, 2015.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: Questions and answers. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/IBC. Accessed Feb. 19, 2015.
- Dawood S, et al. International expert panel on inflammatory breast cancer: Consensus statement for standardized diagnosis and treatment. Annals of Oncology. 2011;22:15.