IBC Is a Rare and Deadly Type of Breast Cancer Often Misdiagnosed

At the age of 26, Jeannine Donahue was in the gynecologist’s office with a rash on her breast. Months prior, she had been told it was a mammary duct infection and was given an antibiotic. After seeing different doctors and getting misdiagnosed, Ms. Donahue finally learned what she actually had from a breast surgeon—inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare type of cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer affects about 4,000 Americans a year, which is only 2 to 4 percent of all people with breast cancer. Unlike other common types of breast cancer, IBC is harder to diagnose because the symptoms differ. IBC symptoms include inverted nipples and red skin that’s hot to the touch. Often there is no lump, so it is easily missed by a mammogram.

A doctor may suspect an infection, like mastitis, but that ends up wasting precious time as the cancer spreads. This can be especially deadly, because according to the executive director of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic, the cancer has an unusually high mortality rate.

Dr. Beth Overmoyer, who runs an IBC program, says that women initially diagnosed with a breast infection should go to a surgeon for a biopsy if antibiotics do not clear up the symptoms within 2 weeks. Waiting 2 weeks is very different than waiting 2 months because early diagnosis increases the chance of a cure. Women diagnosed with IBC should go to a facility that specializes in IBC to develop a treatment plan.

If you have had your breast cancer go undetected by a doctor or surgeon, please contact our Peachtree City cancer misdiagnosis attorneys at Webb & Taylor. We can review your case and investigate it for any evidence of medical negligence.

Call (770) 631-1811 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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