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Inflammatory Breast Cancer prognosis (outlook) is generally not as good as it is for most other types of breast cancer and is more likely to come back after treatment than most other types of breast cancer. Prognosis describes the likely course and outcome of a disease that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence. IBC is more likely to have metastasized (spread to other areas of the body) at the time of diagnosis than non-IBC cases.

As a result, the dismal 5-year survival rate for patients with IBC is only 25% to 50% has remained unchanged for more than 30 years -in stark contrast to the average survival rate for all breast cancer types of 75%, and for early-stage, non-IBC of 90%. The median survival time for patients diagnosed with IBC is only 37 months.  According to Oncology Times.

Many factors can influence a patient’s prognosis, including the type and location of the cancer, the stage, the patient’s age and overall health, and the extent to which IBC responds to treatment.  The prognosis, or likely outcome, for a patient diagnosed with cancer is often viewed that the cancer will be treated successfully and that the patient will recover completely.  IBC usually develops quickly and spreads aggressively to other parts of the body, therefore women diagnosed with this disease, in general, do not survive as long as women diagnosed with other types of breast cancer according to statistics from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program.  Statistics have proven with IBC the rate of recurrence is quite high so a careful watch by both the patient and the physician should have a planned strategy for follow-ups.  Since there is no known cure, patients are never told they are cured, instead the term “no evidence of disease” (NED) is used.

Women coping with the fear of IBC coming back and the uncertainty about the future, is the hardest and least expected part of finishing treatments. IBC has a high reoccurrence rate, so post treatment monitoring by you the patient and your medical team is very important.  Please keep in mind that no one can predict what will happen to a particular patient because each person's situation is unique. Patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors about their prognosis given their particular situation.