Are there different types of breast cancer?

Although breast cancer is often discussed as though it is one condition there are multiple forms of the disease, each of which requires a unique treatment approach. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer your physician will explain the type of the disease you have and what kind of care to expect. Here’s a glimpse at the most common forms of breast cancer:

In situ breast cancer
In situ breast cancers are forms of the disease that have not spread into surrounding breast tissue from the site of the malignancy. Cancers that are diagnosed in this stage are usually very responsive to treatment.

Ductal carcinoma in situ is one form of in situ cancer. Sometimes, it is also referred to as intraductal carcinoma or stage 0 breast cancer. With this form of the disease, cancer appears in the cells that line the ducts of the breast, but the malignancy has not breached the walls of the duct to impact other parts of the breast.

Invasive breast cancer
Invasive—or infiltrating—breast cancer occurs when cancer cells spread beyond their initial location into other parts of the breast. This kind of breast cancer can sometimes spread outside of the breast as well, through the blood and lymphatic systems.

There are multiple types of invasive breast cancer, including:

  • Invasive lobular carcinoma
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma
  • Mixed carcinoma
  • Medullary carcinoma

Inflammatory breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and serious form of the disease. Most other types of breast cancer are indicated by lumps but may otherwise cause no symptoms at all, inflammatory breast cancer can cause redness, thickening of the skin, and itching in the affected breast.

Another danger inflammatory breast cancer poses is its ability to spread rapidly. By the time it is diagnosed, it may have spread to the lymph nodes, which further complicates treatment. If you have the symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer, consider seeing a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

The Cancer Center at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center provides comprehensive cancer care in Thousand Oaks from diagnosis to recovery. A number of different specialists work together in this multidisciplinary department to ensure patients have access to every kind of care that can help them beat their diagnosis. Get more information about our cancer treatment program or get a referral to a specialist by calling (877) 888-5746.

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