What is Breast Cancer?
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS, lobular neoplasia): The term, "in situ," refers to cancer that has not spread past the area where it initially developed. LCIS is a sharp increase in the number of cells within the milk glands (lobules) of the breast. Many physicians do not classify LCIS as breast cancer and often encounter LCIS by chance on breast biopsy while investigating an area of concern. LCIS patients are closely monitored every four months with physician performed clinical breast exams in addition to receiving yearly mammography. Other preventive options may also be available for patients with LCIS, including tamoxifen or prophylactic mastectomy (preventive breast removal). Click here to learn more about LCIS.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): DCIS, the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer, is confined to the ducts of the breast. DCIS is often first detected on mammogram as microcalcifications (tiny calcium deposits). With early detection, the five-year survival rate for DCIS is nearly 100%, provided that the cancer has not spread past the milk ducts to the fatty breast tissue or any other regions of the body. There are several different types of DCIS. For example, ductal comedocarcinoma refers to DCIS with necrosis (areas of dead or degenerating cancer cells). Click here to learn more about DCIS.
Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC): ILC is also known as invasive lobular carcinoma. ILC begins in the milk glands (lobules) of the breast, but often spreads (metastatizes) to other regions of the body. ILC accounts for 10% to 15% of breast cancers.
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC): IDC is also known as invasive ductal carcinoma. IDC begins in the milk ducts of the breast and penetrates the wall of the duct, invading the fatty tissue of the breast and possibly other regions of the body. IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of breast cancer diagnoses.
Medullary carcinoma: Medullary carcinoma is an invasive breast cancer that forms a distinct boundary between tumor tissue and normal tissue. Only 5% of breast cancers are medullary carcinoma.
Mucinous carcinoma: Also called colloid carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma is a rare breast cancer formed by the mucus-producing cancer cells. Women with mucinous carcinoma generally have a better prognosis (expected outcome) than women with more common types of invasive carcinoma.
Tubular carcinoma: Tubular carcinomas are a special type of infiltrating (invasive) breast carcinoma. Women with tubular carcinoma generally have a better prognosis (expected outcome) than women with more common types of invasive carcinoma. Tubular carcinomas account for around 2% of breast cancer diagnoses.
Inflammatory breast cancer: Inflammatory breast cancer is the appearance of inflamed breasts (red and warm) with dimples and/or thick ridges caused by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels or channels in the skin over the breast. Though inflammatory breast cancer is rare (accounting for only 1% of breast cancers), it is extremely fast-growing. Click here to learn more about inflammatory breast cancer.
Pagets disease of the nipple: A rare form of breast cancer that begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola, Pagets disease of the nipple only accounts for about 1% of breast cancers. The breast skin may appear crusted, red, or oozing in women suffering from this breast cancer. A womans prognosis may be better if nipple changes are the only sign of the breast disease and no lump is felt. Click here to learn more about Paget's disease of the nipple.
Phylloides tumor: Phylloides tumors (also spelled "phyllodes") are can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Phylloides tumors develop in the connective tissues of the breast and may be treated by surgical removal. Phylloides tumors are very rare; less than 10 women die of this type of breast cancer each year in the United States. Click here to learn more about benign phylloides tumors.
- The American Cancer Society provides an overview of breast cancer at www.cancer.org
- To learn more about risk factors for breast cancer, please visit http://www.imaginis.com/breasthealth/bc_risks.asp
Updated: June 11, 2008