Pink Up: A breast cancer symptom you don't know about

Pink Up: A breast cancer symptom you don't know about

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You know to get your mammograms, or do your self-exam, but there's another symptom doctors say you should look for: redness.

"Sometimes you may have the skin changes and no real breast lump," said Dr. Olivia Aranha with Saint Francis Medical Center.

Aranha said when someone has inflammatory breast cancer, the breast can look swollen and red.

The skin could also look pink, reddish purple or bruised, have ridges or appear pitted like the skin of an orange, or feel like it's burning.

"Women mistake it for infection or just an allergic rash, and it gets ignored," said Aranha.

The breast could also feel sensitive, or the nipple might face inward.

Since those symptoms aren't what patients normally associate with breast cancer, it often times doesn't get diagnosed until it it's in advanced stages.

"It's very rare when I pick it up when it hasn't advanced into the breast, lymphnodes, or other organs," said Aranha.

Even though it's a rare disease with only 5 percent of all breast cancer, Aranha said she's seen three patients in the past two weeks with inflammatory breast cancer.

"They're usually shocked, first they're wondering why this red rash hasn't gone away, why does it keep getting worse, and then someone tells them it could be breast cancer so they're shocked," said Aranha.

But, she said you can't see it in a mammogram, so she said you have to pay attention to those symptoms, since it is an aggressive cancer and can progress quickly.

"We kind of know it's aggressive so we use all our best tools, best weapons, to try to shrink it, make it go away," said Aranha.

To treat the disease, Aranha said they first treat with chemotherapy, then possibly surgery, and radiation.

She said they most commonly see inflammatory breast cancer in younger women ages 30 to 50 and in African American women.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.


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