One or more of the following are typical:

  • Rapid, unusual increase in the size of one breast
  • Redness, rash, blotchiness on one breast
  • What appears to be a bruise or bug bite that does not go away
  • Persistent itching of breast or nipple
  • Lump or thickening of breast tissue
  • Stabbing pain, soreness, aching or heaviness of the breast
  • Feverish (increased warmth) breast
  • Swelling of lymph nodes under the arm or above the collar bone
  • Dimpling or ridging of breast skin
  • Flattening or retracting of nipple
  • Nipple discharge or change in pigmented area around the nipple
  • Feeling of “let down” of milk similar to that when nursing an infant

Important: The above symptoms may indicate a benign breast disorder; however see your healthcare professional if a change does not resolve in two weeks on its own. A biopsy may be needed to rule out Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

View photos of IBC symptoms.

Know Your IBCs – the same abbreviation with different definitions can cause confusion

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is typically abbreviated as IBC. Other breast cancers may include in its diagnosis the terms “in situ breast cancer,” “infiltrating breast cancer,” or “invasive breast cancer” all of which may be abbreviated with “ibc,” but those terms alone do not specify inflammatory breast cancer.

To add to the possible confusion, a diagnosis may include more that one kind of breast cancer; for example “inflammatory breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma, and mucinous carcinoma” all in the same breast. So if a person you know has been described as having IBC or ibc, it may be well to ask what that is abbreviating, since it may not be “inflammatory breast cancer” and therefore the symptoms and other information presented here may not apply.