Here All Year

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Help us spread the word… year-round!

Each month, our Here All Year campaign explored a new topic around metastatic breast cancer—from myth and stigma busters, to new research and strategies for improving outcomes. Want to help make a difference for people living with MBC, all year long? Dig deeper into the research, explore the available resources, watch patient stories and share them on your social and email channels.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This type of breast cancer is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or inflamed. IBC is more difficult to diagnose than other types of breast cancer, and there is a lack of understanding of the disease… even among the medical community. Only increased awareness and education, and more research—including participation in clinical trials—can help improve outcomes and quality of life for IBC patients.

Since there is often no lump that can be felt during a physical exam or seen in a screening mammogram, inflammatory breast cancer can be difficult to diagnose. In addition, most women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer have dense breast tissue, which makes cancer detection in a screening mammogram more difficult.
IBC causes swelling and visible changes in the skin of the breast including redness and a dimpling of the skin called peau d’orange, which is French for the skin of an orange. Since these and other symptoms of IBC may also be signs of other diseases or conditions such as an infection or injury, women with inflammatory breast cancer often have a delayed diagnosis of the disease.
Inflammatory breast cancer is more common and diagnosed at younger ages in Black women than in white women. More research is needed to understand factors behind these racial disparities which might include awareness about the signs and symptoms of IBC among Black patients, biological and genetic differences, and delays in diagnosis and treatment.
Ongoing research will increase our understanding of how inflammatory breast cancer begins and progresses, and should enable the development of new treatments and more accurate prognoses for women diagnosed with this disease. Participating in a clinical trial is one way individuals can help make this happen.
Ginny Mason, BSN, RN, is the Executive Director of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation (ibcRF), a member of the Alliance and grass-roots organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) through the power of action and advocacy. This is done by fostering innovative IBC research, educating stakeholders, and advocating for both patients and survivors. Ginny has served in a number of research advocacy positions in her lifetime and continues to serve on advisory boards and as a Komen Advocate in Science. Ginny helped develop and implement the IBC Research Foundation BioBank and Clinical Data Base project in 2005.  Ginny continues to manage patient enrollment, working with researchers and the Medical Advisory Board. She has spent close to 20 years since her diagnosis using her voice to advocate for breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer patients.
“I know they say October is breast cancer awareness month, but for those of us with metastatic disease, that’s every month. Our cancer is here all year.” Jennifer Cordts was diagnosed with stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer in November 2015. A mother of two daughters, Jennifer is also a Board member of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation, she runs a support group at Baylor Hospital, volunteers for Meals on Wheels and is a breast cancer advocate.
Jasmine Jeffries was diagnosed in 2019 with stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer ER, PR positive HER2 negative with metastases to her vertebrae. While the cancer diagnosis was one of the biggest blows Jasmine has ever felt, she didn’t let it stop her. Through this journey Jasmine has begun to advocate for women with Metastatic Breast Cancer. She became an Angel advocate with the Tigerlily Foundation, focusing on ending disparities among African American women and becoming knowledgeable about MBC and using her voice to educate others. She lives a life that exemplifies her faith in God and has a strong foundation that she relies on every day of her life. Jasmine enjoys singing, traveling, hanging out with family and friends, but most importantly being in great company enjoying life and every moment.
Janice Choe is a community advocate representing the Asian-Pacific Islander community and lives in Foster City, California. She was part of the advocate team that helped establish MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Advanced Breast Cancer Clinic, which provides metastatic breast cancer patients with personalized treatments. Janice is an active patient advocate with MD Anderson, SWOG, and Susan G. Komen. A certified yoga instructor, she teaches restorative yoga for cancer patients and caregivers. Janice is a stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer thriver since 2011.
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