Inflammatory Breast Cancer is a rare but lethal breast cancer. There is not much knowledge known about the epidemiology of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC); however, with ongoing research some risk factors are becoming evident. One of these risk factors that is becoming evident is an increased Body Mass Index (BMI).
A study was conducted by Catherine Schairer, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues. This study was comprised of 617 inflammatory breast cancer cases from a case-control study from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium database (1994–2009). According to Catherine Schairer, PhD and colleagues,
“We also included 1,151 noninflammatory, locally advanced, invasive breast cancers with chest wall/breast skin involvement, 7,600 noninflammatory invasive case subjects without chest wall/breast skin involvement, and 93,654 control subjects matched to case subjects on age and year at diagnosis, and mammography registry.”
Their study revealed several different variations of risk factors between Inflammatory Breast Cancer and noninflammatory breast cancer. One of these risk factors was high body mass index.
Their study showed that obesity could be a strong risk factor for Inflammatory Breast Cancer. They found that the patients with IBC, who had a BMI of 30 or greater compared to those with a BMI of 25 or under were 3.90 in premenopausal women and 3.70 in postmenopausal women not on hormone replacements. In other types of breast cancer, there were much lower ratios associated with being overweight or obesity, which ranged from 1.02 to 1.36. Not only does this suggest that obesity could be a risk factor of IBC, but this could also mean that IBC has different etiology from other types of breast cancer.
It is not known if IBC has a genetic component or exactly why a person develops IBC. Obesity is one risk factor that people can reduce. There are many different ways in which a person could fight obesity—diet and exercise or weight loss surgery, if needed. Reducing this risk factor does not mean that a person will not develop IBC—there could be other factors that affect development, such as ethnic factors. However, reducing this risk factor will give a person a much healthier life in so many different ways.