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Rachel Darwin, Senior Manager, Public Relations, 2676226624

NCCN Publishes New Resource to Help Patients Understand Quick-Moving Type of Breast Cancer

NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Inflammatory Breast Cancer explains how this particular disease type and its treatment approaches are different from more common forms of breast cancer; available at

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [April 24, 2023] — Today, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has published a new addition to its library of patient resources, expanding the information available for breast cancer. The new NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Inflammatory Breast Cancer joins patient and caregiver resources for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, Invasive Breast Cancer, and Metastatic Breast Cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer—estimated to account for 1-6% of all cases in the United States—that tends to be diagnosed at a younger age.[1],[2],[3]

NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Inflammatory Breast Cancer “A diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer can be terrifying for the patient as well as their family. Most people don't know there are different types of breast cancer and need specific information that is designed for patients to help them understand that treatment will be somewhat different and why that's important,” said Ginny Mason RN, BSN, Executive Director, Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation and IBC Patient. “If someone does an online search for ‘breast rash’ they might immediately see frightening statistics about inflammatory breast cancer and assume the worst. The NCCN patient guidelines can help provide crucial information so people understand treatment options and learn about survival rates that have improved in recent years.”

“These patient guidelines distill the information in a way that’s more digestible and paint a broader picture, so patients can get a better handle on their circumstances,” said William J. Gradishar, MD, FASCO, FACP, Betsy Bramsen Professor of Breast Oncology & Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Director, Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care, Deputy Director, Clinical Network, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University. “While the tools we use for IBC are similar to the tools for other kinds of breast cancer, the sequence and tempo are different.”

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Inflammatory Breast Cancer explain that treatment typically includes systemic therapy to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove the breast and lymph nodes, and then radiation therapy. Many patients have advanced disease by the time of their diagnosis, and it can advance to the metastatic stage more quickly.

Dr. Gradishar, who also serves as Chair of the NCCN Guidelines® Panel for Breast Cancer, noted that it’s important not to dismiss any unusual skin changes to the breast, including redness, swollen nipple area, or warmth to the touch. These appearance shifts could be harmless, but it’s important to get medical attention right away, in case the tumor biopsy confirms IBC. IBC can develop in all genders, including those assigned male at birth.

“The bottom line message is to pay attention, but not to feel terrified,” said Dr. Gradishar. “IBC is pretty uncommon, but when it’s present, it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

“Having easy access to NCCN patient guidelines empowers people to advocate for themselves when making tough decisions,” added Mason.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Inflammatory Breast Cancer are available for free at or via the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer App, thanks to funding from the NCCN Foundation®. Printed versions are available for a nominal fee at

NCCN’s patient resources for breast cancer were recently named the 2022 Excellence in Cancer Patient Education award winner from the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN). Visit for patient guidelines, language translations, webinars, and short videos containing expert-vetted information about breast cancer.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit for more information.

About the NCCN Foundation

The NCCN Foundation empowers people with cancer and their caregivers by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. The NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research. For more information about the NCCN Foundation, visit

[1] Dawood S, Cristofanilli M. What progress have we made in managing inflammatory breast cancer? Oncology (Williston Park). 2007 May;21(6):673-9; discussion 679-80, 686-7. PMID: 17564325.

[2] Jaiyesimi IA, Buzdar AU, Hortobagyi G. Inflammatory breast cancer: a review. J Clin Oncol. 1992 Jun;10(6):1014-24. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1992.10.6.1014. PMID: 1588366.

[3] Hance KW, Anderson WF, Devesa SS, Young HA, Levine PH. Trends in inflammatory breast carcinoma incidence and survival: the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program at the National Cancer Institute. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Jul 6;97(13):966-75. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dji172. PMID: 15998949; PMCID: PMC2844937.