The phenomenon of accelerated tumor growth following surgery has been observed repeatedly and merits further study. Inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) is widely recognized as an extremely aggressive malignancy characterized by micrometastasis at the time of diagnosis, with one interesting subgroup defined as secondary IBC where pathologically identifiable IBC appears after surgical treatment of a primary non-inflammatory breast cancer. One possible mechanism can be related to the stimulation of dormant micrometastasis through local angiogenesis occurring as part of posttraumatic healing. In this report, we review cases of secondary IBC and others where localized trauma was followed by the appearance of IBC at the traumatized site that have been identified by our IBC Registry (IBCR) and hypothesize that angiogenesis appearing as part of the healing process could act as an accelerant to an otherwise latent breast malignancy. It is therefore possible that secondary IBC can be used as a model to support local angiogenesis as an important contributor to the development of an aggressive cancer.
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.