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Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Patient Version

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

In inflammatory breast cancer, cancer has spread to the skin of the breast and the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm. The redness and warmth occur because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin. The skin of the breast may also show the dimpled appearance called peau d’orange (like the skin of an orange). There may not be any lumps in the breast that can be felt. Inflammatory breast cancer may be stage IIIB, stage IIIC, or stage IV.

Inflammatory breast cancer of the left breast with redness, peau d'orange, and inverted nipple.
Inflammatory breast cancer of the left breast showing peau d’orange and inverted nipple.


  • Updated: November 25, 2014