You Woke With A Red, Hot, Swollen Breast?
If you have awoken with a red, hot, swollen breast, get yourself to your doctor without delay. Without wishing to alarm you, this could be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer (“IBC”), which is very unlike other forms of breast cancer where a specific lump can be felt. It could also be a simple breast infection, but after you have read this article, hopefully you will know the difference.
Symptoms of IBC
This list of symptoms comes directly from the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation (more appears about them below) and may include one or more of the following:
- The breast may appear to be discolored – red, purple, pink or bruised in appearance
- The breast may have a dimpled skin texture, like that of an orange peel
- The breast may feel warm or hot to the touch
- The breast may be tender, enlarged or fairly firm
- The nipple may be flattened or retracted or mis-shapen, the skin of nipple could also be swollen or crusted, and there may be a change of color of the skin around the nipple (the areola)
- There may be shooting pains or a sort of stabbing pain within the affected breast
- The breast may be itchy and you can’t relieve it with creams or salves
- There may be thickened areas of breast tissue
- There might be a hardened area in the breast which feels more like a pencil lead than a lump
- Lymph nodes under the arm may be enlarged, as well as above and/or below the collarbone
The biggest problem with IBC is that it can be elusive to diagnose. You can’t see IBC on a mammogram, and many physicians are not trained to deal with it or even recognize it.
For quite some time, it has been considered a particularly bad form of breast cancer – mainly because of delays in diagnosis, lack of expertise of physicians, and its resistance to the standard chemotherapy drugs used for other forms of breast cancer.
Don’t panic though – I am increasingly coming into contact with women who are long term survivors of IBC, so get yourself educated about it. There are lots of things you can do to heal from IBC.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation – An Excellent Resource
Fortunately, there is a fantastic resource for anyone who has IBC or wants to know more about it. The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network Foundation was formed to address the growing need to inform physicians and patients about this particular form of breast cancer, because it is so very different. Here is a link to their excellent website.
There are also some excellent You Tube videos put together by Dr Naoto Ueno, Executive Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr Ueno is also a Medical Advisor to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation:
You might also like to know that diet makes a difference in this sort of breast cancer – see my article The Best Diet Against Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
I sincerely hope that this information helps you and if I can assist you further, please contact me.
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach). It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!