These photographs show typical visual clinical symptoms that appear at time of diagnosis, before treatment. Remember there are often non-visual symptoms that include itching, pain, and skin thickening. Thank you to the IBC patients who have provided these images for use on this web site. Photos may not be used without permission. Contact the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation for permission.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del cáncer inflamatorio de seno?

IBC symptoms from the National Cancer Institute (2016):

“Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include swelling (edema) and redness (erythema) that affect a third or more of the breast. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, reddish purple, or bruised. In addition, the skin may have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d’orange). These symptoms are caused by the buildup of fluid (lymph) in the skin of the breast. This fluid buildup occurs because cancer cells have blocked lymph vessels in the skin, preventing the normal flow of lymph through the tissue. Sometimes the breast may contain a solid tumor that can be felt during a physical exam, but more often a tumor cannot be felt.

Other symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include a rapid increase in breast size; sensations of heaviness, burning, or tenderness in the breast; or a nipple that is inverted (facing inward). Swollen lymph nodes may also be present under the arm, near the collarbone, or both.

It is important to note that these symptoms may also be signs of other diseases or conditions, such as an infection, injury, or another type of breast cancer that is locally advanced. For this reason, women with inflammatory breast cancer often have a delayed diagnosis of their disease.”


*Inflammatory Breast Cancer was originally published by the National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from Web 19 January 2019.  https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/ibc-fact-sheet#q2
Patient A: 1 day after 1st chemo treatment (Taxotere), note pink discoloration, orange peel skin texture, inverted nipple and biopsy incision.
Patient A: 1 week after second Taxotere chemotherapy treatment, skin is less pink, texture is slightly improved, nipple appears more normal. Apparently a good response to chemotherapy.
Patient A: 1 day after third Taxotere treatment, skin is redder, texture is worse, nipple is more flattened and biopsy scar is more prominent due to swelling of skin around it.
Patient B: Enlarged right breast with nipple retraction and pink discoloration.
Patient C: an African American patient: Notice the retracted nipple and deep pink or purple discoloration of some of the skin.
Orange peel skin appearance on the underside of breast, not visible when standing. The small irregular red spot at the 11 o’clock position is a scar remaining from a skin biopsy. While standing it may be necessary to use a hand mirror to determine if peau d’orange may be found on the underside of the breast.
Axillary venous thrombosis: blood clots in small veins in the armpit due to breast cancer. These “cords” disappeared during chemotherapy treatment.
Peau d’orange or orange peel skin appearance of a different shape, color and texture, and involving part of the areola.
Retracted nipple, orange peel skin texture around nipple, ridges in skin, and extensive discoloration of the skin.