Breast cancer usually affects either the cells of the milk ducts or the lobules — the glands that produce milk.
Doctors classify breast cancers by:
- Their potential to spread, either to other parts of the breast or beyond the breast.
- The types of cells — ductal or lobular — they affect.
Invasive breast cancers have the potential to spread to places other than the ducts or lobules.
Noninvasive breast cancer — also called carcinoma in situ (in place) — doesn't spread beyond the ducts or lobules.
Experts at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center have vast experience in diagnosing, treating, and managing the all types of breast cancer.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. It accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of cases in women and 90 percent in men.
Ductal carcinoma begins in the lining of the milk ducts. A precancerous condition — called ductal carcinoma in situ — may precede it.
Ductal carcinoma spreads from the ducts into the fatty tissues of the breast. It can also spread to other parts of the body.
» Learn more about ductal carcinoma at the Magee-Womens Hospital website.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
Lobular carcinoma is the second-most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 10 percent of cases in women.
Lobular carcinoma begins in the glands that produce milk.
It spreads from the lobules into the fatty tissues of the breast and can spread to other parts of the body.
» Learn more about lobular carcinoma at the Magee-Womens Hospital website.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is rare and aggressive. It accounts for only about 1 to 5 percent of breast cancer cases in women (and almost none in men).
Instead of a lump, most people notice reddening and swelling of the breast. This type of cancer blocks the lymph vessels, which causes the symptoms of inflammation.
Inflammatory breast cancer is often mistaken for mastitis (an infection that can occur with breastfeeding) or cellulitis (a bacterial infection). Mastitis and cellulitis often cause fevers, but fever is not a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer.
If you're receiving treatment for mastitis or cellulitis and it's not working, ask your doctor about inflammatory breast cancer.
» Learn more about inflammatory breast cancer at the Magee-Womens Hospital website.
Paget's Disease of the Nipple
Paget's disease of the nipple is rare. It accounts for about one percent of all cases of breast cancer.
Paget's disease often begins in the ducts of the nipple. It spreads to the surface and to the areola (the dark circle of skin around the nipple).
Instead of a lump, people tend to notice fluctuating redness and irritation. Often, Paget's disease occurs with another type of cancer within the breast. It usually affects one breast only.
Paget's disease of the nipple is often mistaken for:
- Eczema (a type of skin rash).
- Mastitis (an infection associated with breastfeeding).
- Other inflammatory conditions.
If you're receiving treatment for eczema or mastitis and it's not working, talk to your doctor about Paget's disease of the nipple.
» Learn more about Paget's disease at the Magee-Womens Hospital website.