An unexpected diagnosis of breast malignancy

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Abstract

Inflammatory breast cancer constitutes 5% of all breast cancer diagnoses. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs including skin changes, erythema and oedema, together with rapid progression and involvement of more than one-third of the affected breast. It is an aggressive tumour with great metastatic potential, metastases being present in 30% of patients at first presentation.

Primary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the breast is rare but is well reported. It accounts for 0.5% of all breast malignancies and 1% of all non-Hodgkin's diagnoses. Prognosis of primary breast lymphoma varies depending on the stage of disease with stage IE having a 5-year survival rate of 78–83% and stage IIE having a 5-year survival rate of 20–57%.

We present a rare case of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma mimicking an inflammatory breast cancer. The aim of this case report is to highlight an unusual presentation of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the diagnostic difficulties that arise.

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