Did you know there is more than one type of breast cancer?
There are in fact seven different types of breast cancer, according to Cancer Australia.1 They can be further divided into two groups; non-invasive and invasive.1,2
Non-invasive breast cancer
These types of cancer appear in the ducts or the lobules of the breasts. The cells look like cancer but they haven’t yet invaded any nearby tissues. Another name for these types of breast cancer is pre-invasive cancer or carcinoma in situ.2 There are two types of non-invasive breast cancers:1-3
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) - where the cancer develops and stays within the milk glands (AKA lobules - the part of the breast that produces milk)
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - where the cancer develops and stays within the milk ducts (fine tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipples when breastfeeding)
Invasive breast cancers
As the name suggests, invasive breast cancers have spread to other parts of the body. In the early stages this just means the surrounding tissues, but if the cancer spreads beyond the breast tissue then it is referred to as advanced or metastatic breast cancer.2
Here are the five types of invasive breast cancer:1,2
- Early breast cancer - this is breast cancer that is contained within the breast tissue with the possibility of spreading to nearby lymph nodes. Early breast cancer can be further broken down by the area it started in;
- Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) start from the lobules - about 10% of breast cancers are ILC
- Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) start from the ducts - about 80% of breast cancers are IDC
- Paget’s disease of the nipple - a rare form of breast cancer that affects the nipple and surrounding tissues
- Inflammatory breast cancer - also rare this type of breast cancer affects the lymphatic vessels causing the skin of the breast to appear red and inflamed
- Locally advanced breast cancer - this is the name given when breast cancer spreads to nearby tissues like the chest wall
- Metastatic breast cancer - sometimes called advanced breast cancer this is when the cancer cells that originated in the breast have spread to other parts of the body
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have any concerns, early detection makes a difference.1
Find out more about breast cancer here
Any medical procedure or treatment involving the use of radiation carries risks, including skin irritation and associated pain. Before proceeding with treatment, you should discuss the risks and benefits of the treatment with an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Individual treatment outcomes and experiences will vary.
- Cancer Australia. Breast Cancer. Available from: https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/breast-cancer/overview (accessed August 2023).
- Cancer Council. Understanding breast cancer. Available from: https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/breast-cancer/about-breast-cancer/ (accessed August 2023).
- HealthDirect. Breast cancer. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/breast-cancer (accessed August 2023).