Breast Cancer (cont.)

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What are the different types of breast cancer?

There are many types of breast cancer and many different designations to describe breast tumors. Some are more common than others, and there are also combinations of cancers. Some of the most common classifications and terms relating to breast cancer are as follows:

Invasive ductal carcinoma: This cancer starts in a duct of the breast and grows into the surrounding tissue. It is the most common form of breast cancer. About 80% of invasive breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinoma.

Invasive lobular carcinoma: This breast cancer starts in the glands of the breast that produce milk. Approximately 10% of invasive breast cancers are invasive lobular carcinoma.

Ductal carcinoma in situ: The most common type of noninvasive breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In DCIS, abnormal cells have spread within the ducts of the breast, but the cells have not begun to invade nearby breast tissue. This type of cancer therefore usually has a very high cure rate. DCIS has been the subject of much recent debate regarding the severity of the condition and the extent of treatment that is required. Lobular carcinoma in situ is similar, but in this case the abnormal cells are located in the lobules of the breast rather than the ducts.

The remaining breast cancers types are much less common and include the following:

Mucinous carcinomas are formed from mucus-producing cancer cells.

Mixed tumors contain a variety of cell types.

Medullary carcinoma is an infiltrating breast cancer that presents with well-defined boundaries between the cancerous and noncancerous tissue.

Inflammatory breast cancer: This cancer makes the skin of the breast appear red and feel warm (giving it the appearance of an infection). These changes are due to the blockage of lymph vessels by cancer cells.

Paget's disease of the nipple: This cancer starts in the ducts of the breast and spreads to the nipple and the area surrounding the nipple. It usually presents with crusting and redness around the nipple.

Adenoid cystic carcinoma: These cancers have both glandular and cystic features. They tend not to spread aggressively and have a good prognosis.

The following are other uncommon types of breast cancer:

  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Phyllodes tumor
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Tubular carcinoma
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/25/2013

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