Breast Cancer Types

Topic Overview

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the ducts and lobes of the breast. The main types of breast cancer are:

  • Ductal carcinoma, which is cancer that begins in the ducts of the breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer.
  • Lobular carcinoma, which is cancer that begins in the lobes of the breast. This is the second most common type.
  • Some breast cancer is a mixture of both ductal and lobular carcinoma.

There are also some less common types of breast cancer, such as inflammatory breast cancer.

When abnormal cells in the lining of a duct or lobe of the breast haven't spread, they are said to be "in situ" (say "in-SY-too").

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a precancer that may progress to breast cancer. The abnormal cells are just in the ducts of the breast.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is a precancer that rarely spreads. If LCIS is found in one breast, a woman has an increased risk for developing breast cancer in either breast.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised June 28, 2013

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