Types of Breast Cancer

There are several classifications of breast cancer. Size, type and extent can differ and treatment options depend on the specific type of cancer diagnosed. Once the malignancy is found, the next step for doctors is to identify which one of the following types of breast cancer is present:

  • Intraductal Carcinoma – This is referred to as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. According to the American cancer Society, about 1 in 5 cancers are DCIS. This type of breast cancer is present when cancer cells are located in the ducts, but have not spread to the surrounding tissue. In most cases, this stage of cancer is curable.
  • Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma – This is the most common type of invasive breast cancer– about 80% of invasive breast cancers fall into this category. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) starts in the duct and spreads into the fatty tissue. In some cases, it can spread to the lymphatic system.
  • Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma – Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC) is the second most common type of invasive cancer. ILC usually occurs later in life than IDC. During ILC, cancer cells invade the fatty tissue and lymph vessels of the breasts.
  • Inflammatory Carcinoma – This is a more uncommon type of breast cancer. A breast biopsy is needed to locate cancerous cells, because there are usually no lumps present during inflammatory carcinoma.  Inflammatory cancer is typically seen in women aged 45 to 55. The survival rate is worse for inflammatory carcinoma than ductal or lobular cancer, due to the greater risk for this cancer to spread.