Because inflammatory breast cancer often spreads quickly, your doctor may recommend tests to see whether your cancer has spread beyond the area of the breast. These may include a bone scan, chest X-ray, abdominal ultrasound or other tests. Most patients do not have detectable disease beyond the breast and underarm at diagnosis, but in those cases where there is metastasis; treatment may differ, so it can be important to check. Your doctor may also order tests to check your general level of health before beginning treatment or to test your eligibility for a clinical trial, or to monitor your tolerance of the treatment. You should feel free to ask what any test is for, and to refuse it if you aren't comfortable with the answer
Treatment consisting of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy is used to treat IBC. Chemotherapy (a combination of drugs to kill cancer cells) is generally the first treatment for patients with IBC, and is called neoadjuvant therapy. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, which means that it affects cells throughout the body. The purpose of chemotherapy is to control or kill cancer cells, including those that may have spread to other parts of the body. After chemotherapy, patients with IBC may undergo surgery (to remove the breast and affected lymph nodes and radiation therapy to the chest wall (which uses high-power energy beams to destroy and stop the spread of cancerous cells). After initial systemic and local treatment, patients with IBC may receive additional systemic treatments to reduce the risk of recurrence (cancer coming back).
Treatment for inflammatory breast cancer is usually more aggressive than treatment for most other types of breast cancer.
A breast cancer diagnosis is devastating and frightening, but your chances of beating the disease increase with an early diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible. While undergoing treatment, seek support to cope with your disease. Recovery can be a roller coaster of emotions, so it's important to learn about your condition and treatment options, and you should seek support from others. This could include joining a local support group for cancer patients and survivors, working with a therapist who helps cancer patients, as well as confiding in family and friends.
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