There are many different types of breast cancer which are generally classified by where in the breast the cancer originated, what the cells look like and whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Ductal, lobular, and medullary neoplasms are three of the main types with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma being the most common type making up nearly 80% of diagnosed cases.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
As mentioned, invasive ductal carcinoma makes up almost 80% of diagnosed cases of breast cancer. This is cancer that began in the ducts, but has had time to spread to other parts of the breast. It is also known as infiltrative ductal carcinoma and is the most common type of breast cancer seen in men. There are several sub-types of invasive ductal carcinoma including tubular carcinoma and medullary carcinoma.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ is a type of breast cancer that began in the lining of the breast milk ducts. It is a non-invasive cancer that generally responds well to treatment when detected early. If left untreated, however, it can spread.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Triple negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer where the three types of hormones that help cancer grow are not present. These three hormones are estrogen, progesterone and HER-2/neu gene. Since some types of cancer treatments are based on their effects on these hormones, these drugs are ineffective on triple negative breast cancer. This is an aggressive cancer that can be difficult to treat. However, it can also respond quite well to chemotherapy.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer occurs when cancer cells begin to grow in the skin and lymph vessels of the breast. Since this type of cancer does not form a tumor a lump is not detectable and there may be no symptoms until the cancer is quite advanced. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include swelling and redness of the breast, an “orange peel” like texture on the breast, or changes in the appearance of the nipple. Symptoms are sometimes not evident until the cancer cells cause blockages. This is an aggressive type of cancer that often involves several forms of treatment. Learn more about the symptoms of breast cancer.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that originated in the breasts that has already spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, brain, liver, or bones. This is an advanced cancer that is often diagnosed as stage 4 cancer. Cancer cells can spread (metastasize) from one part of the body to other parts in several different ways. The cells can invade nearby healthy cells, they can travel via the lymph system, or they can travel in the blood stream.
Cancer cells that travel to other parts of the body can become lodged elsewhere and then new tumors begin to grow in new locations. The symptoms and treatments for metastatic breast cancer depend on where the cancer has spread.
Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
Some women are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. Doctors will look at the stage of the breast cancer and how far along the mother is in her pregnancy, along with other factors, when deciding whether or not to begin treatment immediately. While the breast cancer itself is not harmful to the baby, some treatments may be. There is also a lot of additional stress on an expectant mother who now not only worries for herself, but also her unborn child.
Other Types of Breast Cancer
There are many other less common forms of breast cancer including Paget’s disease, mucinous carcinoma, tubular carcinoma, and medullary carcinoma. Breast cancer can also occur in men, although this is very rare and makes up less than 1% of all diagnosed breast cancers.