Risk factors for developing inflammatory breast cancer: an epidemiological study of a single patient population
White, Randie Elizabeth
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Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, with a particularly poor prognosis. Identification of epidemiologic risk factors for IBC might shed light on causes of the disease, and guide screening and perhaps treatment. Previous studies have suggested that race, geographic location, body mass index (BMI), menopausal status, age at menarche, parity, duration of lactation, and exposure to mouse mammary tumor virus may be key risk factors in the development of IBC. This retrospective epidemiologic study examines the risk factors for IBC in predominantly Caucasian patients treated at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, MA. The risk factors that were examined in this study include the following: BMI, family history of having breast cancer, comorbidities, duration of symptoms associated with IBC prior to diagnosis, season of diagnosis, and molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Additionally, the descriptive statistics for the mean age of diagnosis, race, menopausal status, genetic predisposition, and the presence of metastases in distant organs were also determined. This study showed that there is some evidence of a hereditary component and seasonal variation to the disease. Furthermore, this study reiterates the association of high body mass index (BMI) and IBC. The data collected from the DFCI IBC patient population suggest that modifiable lifestyle factors, perhaps due to a lack of awareness of the disease, might be crucial in the development of IBC. Further research is needed to explore the unique risk factors in developing IBC elucidated in this study in order to better understand and prevent such an aggressive disease.