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Provista Blog > What Are The Different Types Of Breast Cancer?

Provista Blog

What Are The Different Types Of Breast Cancer?

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on March 6, 2017

Breast cancer can begin in different areas of the breast; the ducts, the lobules or in some cases, the tissue in between. Breast cancer is sometimes found after physical symptoms such as a small lump appear; however, many women with breast cancer have no physical symptoms. There are two different categories of breast cancer: invasive and non-invasive. In this blog we will go through some of the more common types of breast cancer.

 Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

This is the most common type of breast cancer that is non-invasive. Ductal refers to the cancer starting inside the milk ducts, carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues, and in situ means "in its original place." DCIS is called "non-invasive" because, at this stage it has not spread beyond the milk duct into any normal surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is not life-threatening, but having DCIS can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer later on.

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)

This type of breast cancer accounts for about 80 percent of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas. Invasive means that the cancer has spread to the surrounding breast tissues. Ductal means that the cancer began in the milk ducts, which are the “pipes” that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover internal organs. Altogether, “invasive ductal carcinoma” refers to cancer that has broken through the wall of the milk duct and begun to invade the tissues of the breast. Over time, invasive ductal carcinoma can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 180,000 women in the United States find out they have invasive breast cancer each year.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

A diagnosis of this type of breast cancer means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth; estrogen, progesterone and the HER-2/neu gene, are not present.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

Inflammatory breast cancer is an an aggressive and fast growing type of breast cancer in which cancer cells infiltrate the skin and lymph vessels of the breast. It often produces no distinct tumor or lump that can be felt and isolated within the breast.  But when the lymph vessels become blocked by the breast cancer cells, symptoms begin to appear.

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is also classified as Stage 4 breast cancer.  The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.  This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain.

Medullary Carcinoma

Medullary carcinoma accounts for three to five percent of all breast cancer types.  The tumor usually shows up on a mammogram, but does not always feel like a lump.

Tubular Carcinoma

This type of breast cancer makes up about two percent of all breast cancer diagnoses, the name tubular carcinoma is derived from the distinctive tubular structure the cells have when viewed under a microscope.

Mucinous Carcinoma (Colloid)

Mucinous carcinoma represents approximately one to two percent  of all breast cancers. The main differentiating features are mucus production and cells that are poorly defined. It also has a favorable prognosis in most cases.

Paget Disease of The Breast Or Nipple

This condition is a rare type of breast cancer affecting the skin of the nipple. Most people with Paget disease evident on the nipple also have one or more tumors inside the same breast; generally, either ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer. Paget disease is frequently misdiagnosed at first because the first noticeable symptoms can easily be confused with more common skin conditions affecting the nipple.

Learn More About Early Breast Cancer Detection In Our Guide

Recommendations for Detecting Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society recommends early detection and diagnosis for all types of breast cancers by maintaining vigilant annual screening. An earlier detection of breast cancer is directly correlated with increased survival rates.  However, early detection of all types of breast cancer is confounded by the limitations of breast imaging technology. In particular, women with abnormal or unclear imaging whose results can be further muddied when a woman’s breast has higher density. By incorporating new complementary detection technologies, such as a blood test, we can then provide additional information and help detect many types of breast cancer as early and as accurately as possible.


Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.