In inflammatory breast cancer, the cancer cells may not grow as a lump that can be felt in the breast. They grow along the tiny channels (lymph vessels) in the skin of the breast. This blocks the vessels.
The body reacts to the cancer cells in the lymph vessels and the breast becomes inflamed and swollen. This is how the condition gets its name.
Lymph vessels are part of the lymphatic system. They drain fluid from tissues and collect and filter out bacteria and any waste materials from the body’s cells.