There are several different types of breast cancer, which are categorized based on where in the breast the cancer develops. Ductal carcinoma in situ, for instance, develops in the cells that line the milk ducts, while lobular carcinoma develops in the milk glands.
Breast cancer incidence
Of the various types of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma is the most common. Lobular carcinomas are slightly less common, but still account for 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses. These two types of cancer can either be in situ (limited to the site of origin) or invasive (having spread to other parts of the breast, such as the fatty tissues or the lymph nodes).
Other, less common types of breast cancer include:
- Inflammatory breast cancer, which can develop in a variety of breast cells and eventually block the lymph nodes, causing inflammation
- Paget disease of the nipple, which develops in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple
- Angiosarcomas, which develop in the cells that line the blood vessels of the breast
- Phyllodes tumors, which develop in the connective tissues of the breast
Oncologists can also classify breast cancers based on the types of cells involved. The four most common molecular subtypes of breast cancer are luminal A, luminal B, triple negative and HER2 type (it’s worth noting that HER2 type is not the same as HER2-negative or HER2-positive, and that cancers that are luminal A, luminal B or triple negative can be HER2-negative or HER2-positive). Oncologists can use this information to determine which types of treatment are most likely to benefit a patient based on a tumor’s genetic makeup.
Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center
The experienced oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center can explain the various types of breast cancer in greater detail and help you learn more about your specific diagnosis. We take an individualized approach to treatment, using the type, stage and cellular profile of a tumor to guide our recommendations. This is one of the ways in which we are able to improve our patients’ outcomes and quality of life.