Cancer Care

Types of Breast Cancer

Every woman’s breast cancer is unique to her, and Roper St. Francis breast cancer specialists tailor treatment and care to the individual patient’s specific medical and personal needs. In general, however, breast tumors fall into the following four major categories.

Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is not actually a breast cancer but is when abnormal cells, (which are not yet cancer cells) are identified in the breast lobules (the small glands that make milk). A diagnosis of LCIS means that a patient has a higher risk of developing breast cancer in either breast, and requires close monitoring.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)
Invasive lobular carcinoma (also called infiltrating lobular carcinoma) is the second most common type of breast cancer, representing approximately 10 to 15 percent of breast cancers. This type of cancer spreads with branch-like growth pattern, which can make it difficult to detect with imaging. Depending on the size and location of the cancer, ILC is usually treated with mastectomy or lumpectomy, and chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be advised.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a form of breast cancer that develops in the milk ducts, but has not spread. This non-invasive cancer is limited to the duct tissue, and the patient’s prognosis is generally excellent.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
Invasive ductal carcinoma is when abnormal cells have spread beyond the milk ducts where they began. The most common type of breast cancer, IDC represents nearly 80 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses.  Treatment for IDC is determined after the exact type and stage of cancer is determined, and may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy or biologic targeted therapy. There are four subtypes of IDC that are less common:
  • Medullary ductal carcinoma (spongy change in breast tissue)
  • Mucinous ductal carcinoma (breast cancer cells produce mucous that form a tumor)
  • Papillary ductal carcinoma (rarely invasive, tumors look like tiny fingers)
  • Tubular ductal carcinoma (a rare cancer, looks like tiny tubes under a microscope; hormone-responsive cancer)

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
Inflammatory breast cancer is fast growing and aggressive, and can sometimes be mistaken for an infection of the breast or rash on the surface of the breast. When a rash or breast skin infection does not clear after topical treatment or antibiotics, immediately see a breast specialist.  IBC is diagnosed by a imaging (mammography, ultrasound, MRI) and skin punch biopsy, and treatment for IBC typically includes mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, hormonal therapy and biologic targeted therapy.

 Learn About Treatment Options for Breast Cancer.

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