There are a few different types of breast cancer, and the categories are based upon the condition of the breast cancer when it is diagnosed. In its earliest stages, breast cancer is contained to certain areas of the breast only and has not spread to other parts of the body.
There are basically two general types of breast cancer: In situ Breast Cancer, which has not spread at all, and Invasive Breast Cancer, which has spread into the areas around the breast. Within these two categories, the breast cancer types are as follows:
Breast Cancer Types – In situ Breast Cancer
Generally the term “in situ” refers to a non-invasive type of breast cancer that shows no indication of spreading. There are two types of in situ breast cancer.
Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) This type of breast cancer develops within the lining of the breast’s milk ducts. At this stage, the cancer has not invaded any of the surrounding tissue. This is the best type of breast cancer in that it is very treatable and has an excellent chance for cure.
Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS) LCIS is similar to DCIS, except that it starts in the milk-producing, or lobular glands, of the breast. Although less common, this type of breast cancer also has an excellent prognosis.
Breast Cancer Types – Invasive Breast Cancer
When a breast cancer is termed “invasive” that means that it shows signs of spreading to areas surrounding the breast and possibly to other parts of the body. There are two types of invasive breast cancer:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
IDC accounts for 70 percent of all diagnosed breast cancers. This form of breast cancer also begins in the lining of the milk ducts, but at this stage it has moved into some of the nearby breast tissue. Depending on the stage, IDC is either still limited to the breast or has spread to surrounding areas.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)
This is a less common type of breast cancer that begins in the lobular ducts and then travels to surrounding breast tissue. ILC does not appear as a lump like other breast cancer types, rather it more closely resembles a thickening in the breast area.
Once breast cancer is diagnosed, the cancerous cells are tested to determine the stage of the disease. The stage is based on the size and shape of the cancer cells, and it shows how fast the cells are dividing or growing and how likely they are to spread. The different breast cancer stages are used when deciding what type of treatment will be most effective.
• Stage 1 breast cancer cells still look almost the same as normal cells.
• Stage 2 cells begin to show some abnormalities.
• Stage 3 cells have completely lost both their function and structure.
The earliest stages are easier to treat and have a higher prognosis. Although still very treatable, stage 3 breast cancer is more likely to spread outside of the breast to other parts of the body.