Photos of Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms

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.

The National Cancer Institute has an Inflammatory Breast Cancer fact sheet which includes  the symptoms of IBC:

Symptoms of IBC may include redness, swelling, and warmth in the breast, often without a distinct lump in the breast. The redness and warmth are caused by cancer cells blocking the lymph vessels in the skin. The skin of the breast may also appear pink, reddish purple, or bruised. The skin may also have ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange (called peau d’orange), which is caused by a buildup of fluid and edema (swelling) in the breast. Other symptoms include heaviness, burning, aching, increase in breast size, tenderness, or a nipple that is inverted (facing inward). These symptoms usually develop quickly over a period of weeks or months. Swollen lymph nodes may also be present under the arm, above the collarbone, or in both places. However, it is important to note that these symptoms may also be signs of other conditions such as infection, injury, or other types of cancer.

For photos of skin metastases (skin mets), go to this page.

visual clinical symptoms

Patient A: 1 day after 1st chemo treatment (Taxotere), note pink discoloration, orange peel skin texture, inverted nipple and biopsy incision.

visual clinical symptoms

Patient A: 1 week after second Taxotere treatment, skin is less pink, texture slightly improved, nipple more normal. Apparently good response to chemotherapy.

visual clinical symptoms

Patient A: 1 day after third Taxotere treatment, skin is redder, texture worse, nipple flattened and biopsy scar more prominent due to swelling of skin around it.

Visual Clinical Signs 1

Patient B: Enlarged right breast with nipple retraction and pink discoloration.

Visual Clinical Signs 2

Patient C, an African American woman: Notice the retracted nipple and deep pink or purple discoloration of some of the skin.

Visual Clinical Signs 3

Orange peel skin appearance on underside of breast, not visible when standing. The small irregular red spot at the 11 o’clock position in this photo is the scar remaining from a skin biopsy, not a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. 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.

photo of cords in armpit

“Axillary venous thrombosis”: blood clots in small veins in the armpit due to breast cancer. These “cords” disappeared during chemotherapy treatment.

Visible Clinical Signs 5

Retracted nipple, orange peel skin texture around nipple, ridges in skin, extensive discoloration of the skin.

Visible Clinical Symptoms 4

Peau d’orange or orange peel skin appearance of a different shape, color and texture, and involving part of the areola.