Inflammatory Breast Cancer Often Misdiagnosed

As many as one in every three women are misdiagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, one of the most rare and aggressive forms of the disease. According to recent research by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, survival rates are lower in women who have inflammatory breast cancer because of the high occurrence of misdiagnosis.

Inflammatory breast cancer accounts for between 1 and 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S., Liberty Voice reported. The wrong treatment can be prescribed because of an unfamiliarity with this type of the disease.

For the study, researchers looked at more than 10,000 patients. Results showed that older women and those who lived in a region other than the Midwest were less likely to be given a correct diagnosis, the source stated.

The most common symptom of inflammatory breast cancer is breasts that appear to be swollen looking or inflamed. The breasts can also look pitted, rigid, bruised or red in color. According to Liberty Voice, many cases are the result of the cancer forming in the cells that line the breasts' milk ducts. The disease spreads fast and is often not treated using hormone therapies.

Because it is so common for the disease to progress before it is discovered, many women are also not treated appropriately.

According to the source, inflammatory breast cancer is hard to diagnose because many of its symptoms can be confused with other illnesses. The lumps are also hard to find and can easily be missed with self-exams and mammograms.

Inflammatory breast cancer is typically diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a positron emission tomography (PET) test and a computed tomography (CT) scan.

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