A mini-symposium was held in Montreal, Canada, at the International Surgical Week for the Breast Surgical International in 2007 addressing the question whether breast cancer is the same disease in Asian and Western countries. Numerous investigators from Asian and Western countries presented the epidemiologic and clinical outcome data of women with breast cancer. Although there are significant similarities, the striking difference is that the peak age for breast cancer is between 40 and 50 years in the Asian countries, whereas the peak age in the Western countries is between 60 and 70 years. Also, the incidence of breast cancer in Asia is rising and is associated with increased mortality. In the West, although the incidence is increasing, the mortality rate is definitely decreasing. Future prospective data collection from Asian and Western countries may provide further interesting epidemiologic and outcome data regarding the outcome of women with breast cancer from Asian and Western countries.
Inflammatory breast cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Often, there is no lump that can be felt during a physical exam or seen in a screening mammogram. In addition, most women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer have dense breast tissue, which makes cancer detection in a screening mammogram more difficult. Also, because inflammatory breast cancer is so aggressive, it can arise between scheduled screening mammograms and progress quickly. The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may be mistaken for those of mastitis, which is an infection of the breast, or another form of locally advanced breast cancer.
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.