What are Breast Cancer Types?

Susan K. Williford, M.D., Medical Oncologist Explains

Understanding Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females except for skin cancer. The breast is basically just a big milk gland. It has ducts lobules and fatty tissue. When a cancer forms and stays in the ducts it is called intraductal or non invasive breast cancer, which is often ductal carcinoma in situ. When a breast cancer invades through the ducks into the fatty tissue or lobules of the breast it is called invasive breast cancer or infiltrating breast cancer. The most common type of breast cancer is adenocarcinoma.

Other less common types are lobular, colloid, tubular and metaplastic. There is a rarer type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer, which often looks like an infection and can be mistaken for that or a rash. A less common entity is lobular carcinoma in situ, which is really not breast cancer but is a risk factor for breast cancer on either side of the patient’s chest.

How do I know My Breast Cancer Type?

Usually, this information can be found in the diagnosis part of your medical record. If you can’t find this info, see if you can find your stage. If you are a stage 0, this means your cancer is not invasive, and is most likely Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) or Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS). If your stage is higher than 0 then most likely you have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) or Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC). If your cancer is inflammatory, it will be clearly stated in your records.

What are Other Types of Tumors in the Breast?

Paget’s disease of the breast, phyllodes tumors of the breast, cystosarcoma phyllodes, and axillary breast cancer, are relatively rare cancer types. If you had any of these types, most likely your doctor will tell you about it as they sometimes require a different management. 

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