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IBC Information for Referring Physicians

  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program at the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center offers highly specialized evaluation and care for patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that is frequently difficult to detect and often presents at an advanced stage.

    To refer a patient for diagnosis and treatment for inflammatory breast cancer, call 877-332-4294.

    Multidisciplinary clinic

    Our medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists work together in treating patients with IBC, most often with chemotherapy followed by surgery and state-of-the-art radiation therapy. By employing a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach, patients are able to begin treatment quickly, which is essential given the aggressive nature of the disease.

    Patients also have access to multiple clinical trials, designed specifically to improve therapies for IBC. A range of trials is available, including studies for newly diagnosed patients, for patients who present with metastatic disease or local-regional disease recurrence, and for patients who did not achieve a complete pathologic response at mastectomy following initial chemotherapy.

    We offer patients opportunities to take part in clinical trials, investigating new, targeted therapies for IBC.

    Patients may also be eligible for other breast cancer clinical trials. We will discuss whether another breast cancer clinical trial may be right for your patient.

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    Clinical trials for metastatic breast cancer

    Indications for referral

    Unlike other forms of breast cancer, which can be identified by a mass, IBC is more diffuse, with more lymphatic involvement that causes the breast to feel thick or heavy, and makes diagnosis more difficult.

    Patients who present with redness, swelling, pain, or itchiness of the breast or thickening of the skin on the breast, with ridging or dimpling, should be referred to a specialist for evaluation and a clinical examination and biopsy to confirm diagnosis.

    While IBC shares clinical similarities to mastitis, if a patient does not respond to antibiotic treatment for mastitis, a specialist should be consulted about inflammatory breast cancer.

    Please refer to our Inflammatory Breast Cancer Reference Guide for Physicians.

    Clinical research

    Our researchers and clinicians are involved in clinical and basic science research to enhance our understanding of inflammatory breast cancer, develop more effective diagnostic and treatment options for patients, improve the current predicted five-year 50 percent survival rate for patients with IBC, and expand prevention strategies for women at risk for the disease.

    In addition, through the acquisition of tissue samples from IBC patients, our team is investigating the biology of the disease, including its genetic associations.