A Couple Of Weeks Ago I Asked About A Red, Flat Rash That Had Appeared Under My Right Breast.

Question

Asked by Louise

A Couple Of Weeks Ago I Asked About A Red, Flat Rash That Had Appeared Under My Right Breast.

When I initially went to the GP she felt that it could be an allergy and gave me antihistamine and cortisone cream. The rash faded to a very pale rose colour but it still persisted. I had a mammogram done two days after the rash appeared and this was clear. Due to the persistence of the rash I went back to the GP and she referred me to a surgeon specialising in breast cancer. He did a thorough examination, comparing both breasts, took a detailed history and checked the mammograms as well. The referral letter from the GP asked about the possibility of IBC but he felt that this was not an issue. he thinks that the rash is skin related rather than breast tissue related and said to see him again in a month. I am now experiencing discomfort (funny feelings) in the same breast, although the rash has not worsened, nor have I any evidence of itching, nipple itching, flaking of nipples, skin changes, swelling, heat, nipple inversion etc - just this strange sensation that I can't even describe.

I have been doing a lot of knitting and computer work over the past 2 weeks (I am right handed) and am experiencing real pain in my neck and shoulder, sometimes with numbness radiating down my inderarm to my little finger, accompanied with pins and needles. I am now wondering if the sensation I feel in my breast is referred from muscle spasms in my neck and shoulder brought on by my real concern about the possibility of cancer.

I am also wondering if you have heard of any cases of discomfort of this sort due to psychosomatic causes? I am a real panicker!

Do you think I should seek a second opinion right now or wait to see the surgeon again in 2-3 weeks time? I am able to chat to my gynaecologist telephonically tomorrow afternoon but believe that his course of action would be to refer me to a surgeon as well.

If there is any likelihood that this could be inflammatory breast cancer I would hate to waste valuable treatment time.

Answer

Louise, I would concur with PJ's opinion that you and your doctors are following a reasonable course for finding out what is going on. It is very unusual for an IBC rash to get better with any treatment other than chemo. The red "rash" associated with IBC occurs because the lymph vessels under the surface of the skin are clogged with cancer cells preventing the flow of the lymphatic fluid. So usually it looks more like an infection UNDER the skin rather than a surface kind of rash like poison ivy. But one of the problems in diagnosing IBC is that the presentation varies. A dermatologist might be the best person to throw in an opinion about what is causing your rash.

Although most of the time there is no lump on the mammogram of an IBC patient, very often there is a change in skin thickness, breast tissue density or symmetry from previous mammos; so be sure to have any previous films compared to these recent ones.

Keep working with your doctors until you are satisfied that you know what has caused that rash (or until it goes away on its own as these things sometimes do before.)

Answered by Phyllis Johnson