skin cancer on breast

In this article, we will discuss skin cancer on the breast. It also discusses symptoms and treatment options for this disease. 

Skin cancer on the breast is rare, but it can be an early warning sign of an internal problem. It begins in the topmost layer of the epidermis and develops through abnormal growth of cells. 

Exposure to the sun is the most common cause, and if not treated early, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Breasts affected by this type of cancer appear warm and red. They may be filled with small bumps that look like eczema. These lumps may change color and increase in size over time. 

They may also be uncomfortable. Although you may not feel any discomfort, it’s important to see your doctor for a breast exam to rule out any underlying cancer.

Research suggests an association between skin cancer and breast cancer. Women with BRCA gene mutations have a greater risk of developing the disease than those without BRCA mutations. 

However, this link isn’t very strong. Some research suggests an association between breast cancer and melanoma but doesn’t prove a causal relationship.

Another study suggests that women with more nevi may be at greater risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. 

Researchers reviewed records of 89,902 women in France. They found that 5,956 of these women developed premenopausal breast cancer. Additionally, women with more nevi were more likely to have a family history of breast cancer.

Symptomatic patients with skin cancer on the breast should have their lesions examined. A histological exam may help detect the cancer and save the patient unnecessary surgery. Treatments for skin cancer on the breast can include surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted molecular therapies.

Inflammatory breast cancer appears in the skin and is much rarer than invasive breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer does not usually cause lumps in the breast tissue, but it may cause pain, redness, swelling, and dimpling. 

The BreastCancer.org website states that inflammatory breast cancer usually begins with a feeling of thickness or heaviness in the breast rather than a lump.

This type of cancer is caused by cancer cells that clog up lymph vessels and small hollow tubes. 

The blockage causes inflammation, which is often mistaken for an infection. Healthcare providers may choose to treat inflammatory breast cancer with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

The Cancer.org website describes inflammatory breast cancer as being a rare and extremely aggressive type of cancer in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the breast.

What Does Skin Cancer on Breast Look Like?

early stage skin cancer on breast

Skin cancer on the breast can look like red bumps on the breast or a patch of pinkish skin. These bumps are often mistaken for moles, but are actually the sign of a dangerous type of skin cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer. 

This type of cancer affects about 1% to 5% of women. It is more common in women who are younger than 40, and in women who are overweight.

Breast cancer is a serious illness, which can be treated only when it is detected early. The symptoms may include redness, itchiness, or pain. If these symptoms are present, it’s important to get checked out by a dermatologist right away, since early detection improves the chances of successful treatment.

Symptoms of breast cancer

There are a number of signs and symptoms associated with breast cancer, including:

  • Swelling or pain in the armpit. 
  • Experience breast swelling around the collarbone. 
  • Breasts may also develop puckering or dimpling on the skin.
  • You may experience redness or rash in any part of the breast.

In 1% to 7% of breast cancer patients, skin metastases occur on the chest wall. They may also occur on the back, scalp, upper extremities, and abdomen. However, the clinical presentation of skin metastases from breast cancer varies greatly.

Treatment options for skin cancer on breast

signs of skin cancer on breast

There are several treatment options for skin cancer of the breast. These options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. 

For recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma, patients typically undergo a combination of therapies. PD-1 blocking drugs, which are aimed at preventing cancer cells from dividing, are also available.

If you suspect that you have skin cancer of the breast, you should first discuss treatment options with your doctor. Treatment options for this type of cancer vary widely from one doctor to another. 

In many cases, the cancer is curable with surgery. Depending on the type and location, your doctor may recommend clinical trials as an alternative to standard treatment.

Surgical procedures may be necessary to remove large skin cancer tumors. Surgical procedures can be risky for older adults, patients on blood thinners, and patients with other underlying conditions. 

Surgical procedures may also interfere with other medications and health conditions. Radiation therapy is another viable option and has a high success rate. It may be the best option for patients with high-risk lesions, or it may be used as adjuvant therapy.

Cryosurgery, where the cancer cells are frozen with liquid nitrogen, is an effective treatment option for small tumors. 

Another treatment option is surgical excision, which involves removing the cancerous tissue and the surrounding normal tissue. In cases where a large localized tumor has spread, a more invasive surgery called Mohs surgery may be needed.

Understanding cutaneous metastasis

pictures of skin cancer on breast

While cutaneous metastasis of skin cancer is rare in the clinical setting, it is critical to recognize it when present. When detected early, it can lead to early diagnosis and prompt treatment. 

These lesions may be difficult to differentiate from benign skin lesions, and a biopsy may be needed to rule out metastasis.

The presence of cutaneous metastases is a sign of advanced cancer. Treatment is difficult and there is a high likelihood of resistance to cytotoxic therapies. 

In addition, the fungating wounds associated with cutaneous metastasis may increase social isolation and negatively affect a patient’s psychological well-being. 

Early recognition and treatment of this disease are essential to achieve the best outcome. In the early stages, surgery may be performed to remove lesions. At the more advanced stages, surgery is not possible. However, a dermoscopy can be helpful in detecting cutaneous metastases.

In some cases, cutaneous metastasis from breast cancer can mimic other conditions. These include Paget’s disease, papillomatosis cutis lymphostatica, and targetoid lesions. 

Patients with breast cancer should be checked for any of these symptoms. To make the final diagnosis, a biopsy of the skin lesion is necessary.

The initial presentation of cutaneous breast cancer can be urticaria. In one case, a woman who had been diagnosed with triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma of her left breast two years prior began developing skin metastasis one year later. 

The tumor had spread to the surrounding skin and axillary lymph nodes. Later, it spread to the bone and liver.