Types of Breast Cancer

There are different types of breast cancer, some more common than others. These include:

  • Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS): This is among the more common kinds of non-invasive cancer. This means that the cancer forms within the ducts and has not spread. Treatment for this type of cancer is likely to have a much higher success rate.
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: This is another common type of breast cancer. The tumor here forms in a breast duct and then grows to affect the surrounding tissues. It has the potential to spread through to other parts of the body and affect the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. Nearly eighty percent of all breast cancer cases are of this type.
  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma: The cancer starts in the breast glands responsible for producing milk. This often makes it harder to detect this cancer even with the use of a mammogram.
Less common kinds of breast cancer include:

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC): This is an invasive type of breast cancer but with no single lump or tumor evident. Rather, the skin of the breast becomes inflamed and thick causing itching and tenderness. This type of breast cancer has a higher chance of spreading and a poor prognosis for recovery.
  • Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: This type of breast cancer tends to spread more easily than other cancers and is less receptive to hormone therapy and drug treatment. It is most prevalent among African-American women and younger women.
  • Paget Disease of the Nipple: This is a rare type of breast cancer that starts in the ducts of the breast and spreads to the nipple and the areola. It is normally associated with DCIS or infiltrating ductal carcinoma and treatment generally requires a masectomy.
  • Phyllodes Tumor: Phyllodes tumor develops in the connective tissue of the breast unlike other breast cancer tumors that develop in the ducts or breast lobules. Chemotherapy or surgery is often needed to treat this type of cancer.
  • Angiosarcoma: This type of cancer occurs in the lymph vessels and rarely in the breasts. Angiosarcoma generally develops as a result of previous radiation treatments.
  • Other uncommon types of breast cancers include papillary carcinomas and tubular carcinomas.

Frequently asked questions

Article (BJO:BJO1021)

  1. Carmichael, A.; Review article: Obesity as a risk factor for development and poor prognosis of breast cancer BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006, 113, 1160-1166
  2. Laure Dossus, Rudolf Kaaks, Nutrition, metabolic factors and cancer risk, Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 22, Issue 4, August 2008, Pages 551-571, ISSN 1521-690X, 10.1016/j.beem.2008.08.003.
  3. M.M.A. Tilanus-Linthorst, C.C.M. Bartels, A.I.M. Obdeijn, M. Oudkerk, Earlier detection of breast cancer by surveillance of women at familial risk, European Journal of Cancer, Volume 36, Issue 4, March 2000, Pages 514-519, ISSN 0959-8049, 10.1016/S0959-8049(99)00337-8.
  4. Victor V. Levenson, Biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer: What, when, and where?, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects, Volume 1770, Issue 6, June 2007, Pages 847-856, ISSN 0304-4165, 10.1016/j.bbagen.2007.01.017.