ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of women who are diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on many factors. Use the menu to see other pages.
Inflammatory breast cancer makes up an estimated 1% to 5% of all breast cancers. Nearly all cases are diagnosed in women. The average age of diagnosis for inflammatory breast cancer is 52, compared to age 57 for less rare breast cancers. Black women seem to have a higher risk of inflammatory breast cancer than white women.
Because inflammatory breast cancer can grow and spread quickly, this cancer often spreads to the lymph nodes around the breast. This means it is often at a locally advanced stage when it is diagnosed. For approximately 1 out of 3 women with inflammatory breast cancer, the cancer has already spread to distant parts of the body when first diagnosed.
For inflammatory breast cancer, survival rates vary depending on the stage, tumor grade, certain features of the cancer, and the treatment a woman receives. For stage III of the disease, the median survival rate is 57 months. For stage IV, it is 21 months. The median is the midpoint, which means that half of women live longer and half live for a shorter time.
It is important to note that new treatments are ahead of published statistics. Women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer today may have higher survival rates than in the past because doctors now have a better understanding of how to treat inflammatory breast cancer.
It is also important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for women with inflammatory breast cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of women with this cancer in the United States. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website and the National Cancer Institute (January 2019).
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by inflammatory breast cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.