When seeking answers to “What is wrong with my breast?” IBC patients have shared some unusual, even strange, things they were told by doctors prior to their correct diagnosis.

  • If it was breast cancer he would be able to find a lump and not just inflammation, swollen nodes, and a discharge.
  • That she had spider bites when she developed skin metastasis following treatment for regular breast cancer.
  • To stop wearing under wire bras.
  • To change bras and detergent to get rid of the rash.
  • That her blue colored bruise was a fatty necrosis and no way was it cancer.
  • That the lump she felt was “rib cartilage” and not to worry as she was too young (age 20) to have breast cancer. She wasn’t properly diagnosed until 2 years and 3 exams later. (She died of IBC at age 25.)
  • That she had regular breast cancer instead of IBC. The doctor said he had seen plenty of IBC cases and she didn’t have it. (She did have IBC. The clinical presentation of inflammatory breast cancer may vary from patient to patient.)
  • That the  inflammation with intense itching on one breast which appeared and disappeared 4 times was due to: (1st time)  spider bites; (2nd time) an allergic reaction to food or detergent;  (3rd time) irritation from cyst fluid from fibrocystic breast fluid. The 4th time, she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Note: spider bites or insect bites do not cause inflammatory breast cancer. Seek medical attention if a small red spot having the appearance of an insect bite does not soon resolve.
  • That it was  shingles.
  • Don’t worry, breast cancer doesn’t grow this fast.
  • That she didn’t need a biopsy because IBC “starts with a lump which then disperses and she couldn’t have IBC because the lump would have shown up on one of her previous mammograms.”  Her doctor’s explanation of how IBC starts is erroneous.