The different types of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is classified into numerous categories. They can appear in various regions of the breast.

Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women in the United States. The American Cancer Society claims this (ACS).

According to the ACS, a female in the United States has a 13% chance of having breast cancer. Breast cancer, on the other hand, can affect persons of any gender or sex.

Learning about the anatomy of the breast can help a person understand more about the many types of breast cancer.

Here you may learn more about the anatomy of the breast.

This article will look at the various forms of breast cancer, as well as its symptoms, prognoses, and treatment choices. It will also go over breast cancer screening and when you should see a doctor.

Gender and sex exist on a spectrum. To refer to sex assigned at birth, this article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both.

Types Of Breast Cancer

Ductal carcinoma in situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a type of breast cancer that develops in the milk ducts.

DCIS is noninvasive cancer, which means it stays in the tissue where it developed. DCIS, on the other hand, can progress to aggressive cancer that spreads to other regions of the breast.

According to the ACS, DCIS accounts for approximately 1 in every 5 new breast malignancies.


A person with DCIS will typically show no indications or symptoms. DCIS, on the other hand, can occasionally develop a lump in the breast or discharge from the nipple.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), doctors diagnose more than 90% of DCIS cases only through mammography.


DCIS can be treated using a variety of methods. These are some examples:

Lumpectomy: Also known as breast-conserving surgery, this procedure involves the removal of the DCIS and a small quantity of surrounding tissue by a surgeon. Radiation therapy, which minimizes the likelihood of the cancer returning, is frequently administered next.

Mastectomy: A mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which a person’s entire breast is removed.

Hormone replacement therapy after surgery: DCIS tumours can be hormone receptor-positive. DCIS which is hormone receptor-positive grows in the presence of estrogen or progesterone. Following surgery, a person with this type of DCIS can get hormone therapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning.


DCIS is usually not life-threatening. This is due to the fact that it is non-invasive. However, it can raise a person’s chances of developing invasive breast cancer later in life.

Those who have had a lumpectomy without radiation therapy have a 25–30% likelihood of recurrence of DCIS. If a person receives radiation therapy following surgery, the probability of DCIS returning is 15%.

The majority of recurrences occur 5–10 years following the first diagnosis.

According to a 2015 study, around 3.3 per cent of 100,000 females with DCIS died from breast cancer over a 20-year period.

Ductal invasive carcinoma

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) begins in the milk ducts of the breast and spreads to surrounding breast tissue. IDC can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body over time.

IDC is a trusted source for around 50–70% of invasive breast cancers. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of females diagnosed with IDC are 55 or older. Males can develop IDC as well.

There are less common types of IDC, such as:

Tuberous breast cancer

Tubular carcinomas are IDCs that are 1 centimetre or less in size. Tubules, which are tube-shaped structures, make up tubular carcinoma.

Tubular carcinomas account for 8–27 per cent of all breast malignancies, while this kind is uncommon in men.

Tubular carcinomas are a less aggressive type of invasive breast cancer that responds well to treatment.

Breast ductal cancer in situ

Medullary carcinoma is a less common type of IDC, accounting for approximately 5% of all breast cancer occurrences. Tumours of medullary carcinomas are fleshy and mushy.

Because medullary carcinomas do not spread quickly or outside the breast, they are often easier to treat than other types of breast cancer.

Breast carcinoma in papillary form

Papillary carcinomas are another uncommon type of IDC, accounting for only 1–2% of all invasive breast malignancies. Papillary carcinomas are common in postmenopausal ladies.

Papillary carcinoma is characterized by tiny, finger-like protrusions. Papillary carcinomas grow at a medium rate.

Mammary cribriform cancer

Cribriform carcinomas develop in the breast stroma or connective tissues. Cribriform carcinoma tumours are distinguished by the presence of gaps between their cells.

Cribriform features are found in roughly 5–6% of invasive breast cancer tumours. Cribriform carcinomas are low-grade cancers, which means their cells grow slowly and act similarly to healthy cells.


IDC may not result in any symptoms. The following symptoms, however, may suggest breast cancer:

  • a new tumour or lump in the breast
  • Breast swelling in part or whole
  • Dimpling or skin irritation
  • nipple or breast pain
  • a nipple that is inverted or turns inward
  • nipple or breast skin discolouration, thickness, or scaliness
  • discharge of nipple
  • a bulge in the armpit or nearby area


IDC treatment may include:

  • lumpectomy
  • mastectomy
  • lymph node dissection
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation treatment
  • hormone replacement treatment

Medication that targets specific properties of cancer cells is known as targeted therapy.


According to the ACSTrusted Source, people with invasive breast cancer have a 5-year survival rate of:

The survival rate for cancer that exclusively affects the breast is 99 per cent.

If cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes, the chances of survival are 86%.

If cancer has progressed to other parts of the body, the chances of survival are only 28%.

lobular invasive carcinoma

The second most frequent type of breast cancer is invasive or infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC). ILCs account for approximately 10% of all invasive breast cancers.

ILCs develop in the lobules of the breast, which are milk-producing glands. ILCs spread from the lobules to other breast tissues. ILCs can spread to lymph nodes and other regions of the body over time.

Females in their early 60s are more likely to develop ILC. According to some studies, postmenopausal hormone therapies may raise a person’s risk of ILC.


ILC may not cause any symptoms, making it more difficult for doctors to detect on mammograms.

Aside from the typical breast cancer symptoms, ILCs can cause:

  • breast thickening or hardening
  • a swelling or fullness of the body
  • a change in the texture of the skin
  • a nipple inverted


ILC treatments include:

  • lumpectomy
  • mastectomy
  • lymph node dissection
  • radiation treatment
  • chemotherapy
  • hormone replacement treatment

If the ILC is HER2-positive due to overproduction of the protein HER2, which promotes cell proliferation, HER2-targeted therapy may be used.


According to a 2015 study, the long-term outlook for those with ILC is comparable to or worse than that of people with other invasive malignancies.

Inflammatory Breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and deadly malignancy. According to the American Cancer Society, IBC accounts for 1–5% of all breast cancers.

IBC is more common in females under the age of 40, and it affects more Black females than white females. Obese females are more likely to get IBC. Males can have IBC.


IBC symptoms can appear within 3–6 monthsTrusted Source. These could include:

  • Breast swelling, thickening, or skin discolouration
  • pitting of the breast skin, giving it an orange peel appearance
  • a nipple that is inverted or retracted
  • One breast appears to be larger or heavier and warmer than the other.
  • Breasts are sore, itchy, and uncomfortable.
  • lymph node swelling near the armpit or collarbone


Treatment for IBC may involve the following:

  • chemotherapy
  • targeted treatment
  • hormone replacement treatment
  • HER2-specific treatment
  • radiation treatment
  • mastectomy with lymph node dissection


According to the ACS, at the time of diagnosis, 1 in 3 instances of IBC had already spread to other areas of the body. If IBC has spread, treatment can be difficult.

The ACS notes the following 5-year survival rates for a person with IBC based on data from 2009–2016: If the IBC has spread outside the breast to nearby structures or lymph nodes, the survival rate is 56 percent, and if the IBC has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the bones or lungs, the survival rate drops to 19 percent.

Breast cancer Molecular Subtypes

The molecular subtype of breast cancer is determined by the genes that the disease expresses. A gene is a unit of DNA that contains the information needed to create specific features.

Breast cancer has five distinct molecular subtypes:

Luminal A

Luminal A breast cancer is defined as:

positive for hormone receptors


deficient in the protein Ki-67, which helps regulate the rate at which cancer cells grow

Luminal A breast cancer grows slowly and has a favourable prognosis. It is responsible for around 50–60% of all breast cancers.

Luminous B

Luminal B breast cancer is defined as:

positive for hormone receptors

HER2 positivity or negativity

Ki-67 protein levels are high.

Luminal B breast cancer grows more quickly than luminal A breast cancer and has a worse prognosis. It accounts for roughly 15–20 per cent of breast cancer Trusted Source.

basal-like or triple-negative

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is defined as:

negative for hormone receptors


more likely in younger women and Black women

TNBC develops and spreads quicker than other invasive breast cancers, and treatment options are limited. TNBC also has a worse prognosis than other types of invasive breast cancer. It is responsible for roughly 10–15 percent of all breast cancers.

Trusted Source young Black females are disproportionately affected by triple-negative tumors. These women are also more likely to experience poor clinical outcomes. This is due to health disparities such as:

a scarcity of oncology therapy and care

Treatment hold-ups

a lack of access to breast cancer screening


Breast cancer that is HER2-enriched is both hormone receptor-negative and HER2-positive.

It grows more quickly and has a worse prognosis than luminal malignancies. HER2-enriched breast cancer, on the other hand, responds effectively to HER2-targeted therapy. It accounts for around 15–20 percent of breast cancer subtypes.


Normal-looking breast cancer is defined as:

positive for hormone receptors


Ki-67 protein levels are low.

Despite their similarities, luminal A breast cancer has a somewhat worse prognosis than normal-like breast cancer. It accounts for around 5–10% of breast carcinomas Trusted Source.

The nipple sickness Paget’s

Paget’s nipple cancer is an uncommon type of breast cancer that affects the nipple and surrounding tissues. It is responsible for approximately 1–4% of all breast cancers.

Paget’s disease of the nipple typically begins in the nipple ducts before spreading to the nipple surface and areola. The black skin that surrounds the nipple is known as the areola.

Paget’s disease of the nipple occurs and accompanies DCIS or IDC in approximately 80–90% of cases.

Paget’s disease of the nipple can affect both men and women, and it commonly appears in adults over the age of 50.


Among the signs of Paget’s disease of the nipple are:

stinging, tingling, or burning sensations

sensitivity and pain

Nipple scaling and thickening

the nipple flattening

Nipple discharge that is yellowish or bloody

Paget’s disease of the nipple symptoms can resemble those of eczema or dermatitis. If a person continues to have any of the aforementioned symptoms despite treatment, they should consult a doctor.


Treatment options for Paget’s disease of the nipple are as follows:



radiation treatment


targeted treatment

hormone replacement treatment


If there is no lump in the breast tissue and Paget’s disease of the nipple has not spread, the prognosis is generally favorableTrusted Source.

If Paget’s disease of the nipple has spread, the prognosis may be less favourable, and doctors will treat it similarly to other IDCs.

Breast cancers caused by Phyllodes

Phyllodes tumours are extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all breast tumours. They grow swiftly but rarely spread beyond the breast.

The majority of phyllodes tumours are benign, which means they are not malignant. They can, however, be malignant, which implies they are cancerous.

Tumours caused by Phyllodes can be both malignant and noncancerous.

They are more common in women in their 40s and only extremely infrequently in men.


Phyllodes tumours can cause the following symptoms:

a non-painful lump

a visible skin bulge over a lump

an open wound or ulcer on the skin


Treatment for phyllodes tumours may involve the following:


mastectomy (partial)

complete mastectomy

radiation treatment



The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center reports that benign phyllodes tumours have a great prognosis.

A person with malignant phyllodes tumours has a 5-year survival rate of 60–80 per cent.


Angiosarcoma is an uncommon type of cancer that starts in the cells that line blood and lymph arteries. Radiation therapy can cause it to develop.

According to the NCI, angiosarcoma accounts for approximately 1–2 per cent of all sarcomas. It is particularly common in adults over the age of 70.


Angiosarcoma symptoms can include the following:

Purple skin nodules that bleed easily

a mass


ache near the bump


Treatment may include: Reliable Source:


radiation treatment



According to the NCI, patients with low-grade breast angiosarcoma had a greater survival percentage than those with other forms of angiosarcoma.

However, many people do not acquire a diagnosis until cancer has spread, resulting in a worse prognosis.

Breast cancer that has spread

Stage 4 cancer is often known as metastatic breast cancer. Breast cancer in stage 4 has progressed from the breast to other regions of the body.

Around 30% of women with early-stage breast cancer will develop metastatic disease.


The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has progressed in the body. They may include the following:

Metastasis of the bones

Among the symptoms of bone metastases are:

unexpected new pain

Pain that worsens progressively over time

Pain that persists or worsens during rest

unexpectedly terrible pain

a lack of mobility

back or neck discomfort

tingling or numbness

urinating or bowel motions are difficult




appetite loss


Metastasis of the lungs

Lung metastases symptoms include:

pulmonary discomfort or pain

breathing difficulty


recurring cough

blood or mucus coughing

Metastasis of the brain

Brain metastases symptoms include:


muddled speech

vision impairment


difficulty with balance

memory issues

Changes in personality or mood



Metastasis of the liver

Among the symptoms of liver metastases are:

mid-section soreness or discomfort

exhaustion or weakness

slimming down

a lack of appetite



legs that are bloated

a golden coloration of the skin or eyes


Metastatic breast cancer treatment options include:

radiation treatment


Cryoablation is the freezing of cancer cells in order to eliminate them.


hormone replacement treatment

targeted treatment

Local treatments are administered in locations where cancer has spread.

Immunotherapy aids the body’s immune system in its fight against cancer


According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for late-stage cancer is 28% Trusted Source. A person’s survival rate, however, can vary depending on their age, general health, and how well cancer reacts to treatment.

Breast cancer recurrence

Recurrent breast cancer indicates that the disease has returned. This can occur when a single cancer cell that has resisted treatment develops and replicates.

There are three general places where breast cancer might reoccur:

Local recurrence: This is when cancer returns to the breast location where it was first diagnosed.

Regional recurrence: When cancer returns in the lymph nodes near the collarbone or armpit.

Distance recurrence: This is when cancer returns in the lungs, brain, or bones. It can occasionally reappear in the opposite breast.


The following are some signs to look out for in the chest and breast area:

Chest, armpit, and collarbone swelling

a shift in size and shape

dimpling or puckering of the skin

a rash near the nipple

discharge of nipple

a mass

a nipple inverted

edema of the arm or hand

Other symptoms could include:

severe and persistent headaches

coughing fits

breathing difficulty

unaccounted for weight loss

loss of appetite

bone ache



Treatment choices vary according on where the cancer has returned.


A doctor may advise you to use hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or chemotherapy.

If a person has had a lumpectomy, the doctor may recommend a mastectomy. If they have a mastectomy, the doctor will remove the tumour and treat them with radiation therapy.


A doctor may remove the lymph nodes before delivering radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy may be used following surgery.


Treatment for cancer that has spread to other places of the body is similar to that required for stage 4 breast cancer. The earlier treatment could have an impact on the current treatment options.


The prognosis for recurrent breast cancer is difficult to predict in general.

Local recurrent breast cancer is frequently successfully treated by doctors. However, regional recurrence is more difficult to anticipate. There is an increased possibility that cancer will spread to other places of the body.

According to some 2019 studies, just 5% of people live for 10 years or longer after experiencing a distant recurrence.

Breast cancer in men

Males and females both have breast tissue. This means that breast cancer can affect anyone.

Male breast cancer accounts for approximately 1% of all breast cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Males are most commonly affected by the following kinds of breast cancer:




If a man has the following risk factors for breast cancer:

are around the age of 68

have excessive estrogen levels

Klinefelter syndrome is characterized by low androgen levels and excessive estrogen levels.

have a history of breast cancer in your family or genetic mutations

have been exposed to radiation


Male breast cancer symptoms may include:

a mass in the breast

nipple ache

a nipple inverted

discharge of nipple

the nipple has sores

lymph nodes under the arm enlargement


For male breast cancer, a doctor may recommend the following treatments:


lymph node dissection

radiation treatment

hormone replacement treatment


targeted treatment


The following are the 5-year survival statistics for male breast cancer.

If it is localized, the probability is 97 per cent.

If it is regional, it is 83%.

22 per cent if it is far away


A doctor can detect breast cancer in a variety of methods. They could, for example, use:

a breast ultrasound scan, in which sound waves are used to acquire detailed pictures inside the breast

a mammogram (a thorough X-ray of the breast)

an MRI scan, is a type of body scan that can produce detailed images of the inside of the breast

a biopsy, in which a sample of tissue or fluid from the breast is removed for testing

a clinical breast exam in which the breast is manually felt for lumps

When should someone be screened?

According to the CDC, a woman between the ages of 50 and 74 who is at average risk of breast cancer should undergo a mammogram every two years trusted Source.

Furthermore, females aged 40–49 years should consult with their doctor about how frequently they should undergo a mammogram.

The earlier a person’s breast cancer is identified, the higher their chances of recovery.

According to the ACSTrusted Source, screening males in the general community is not useful due to the rarity of male breast cancer. However, if a man notices any indications of breast cancer, he should consult a doctor.

Screening at a low cost

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program can assist in providing breast cancer screening to those who meet the following criteria:

do not have health insurance

have insurance that excludes screening exams

have a yearly income that is less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line

are 40–64 years old

The CDC offers a tool called Trusted Source to help people figure out who to contact.


A breast cancer diagnosis can be terrifying and distressing.

If a person is struggling with their breast cancer diagnosis, they can seek help from the following organizations:

doctors and other medical personnel


acquaintances and family members

Breast cancer helplines and charities

support groups for breast cancer

When to See a Doctor

Anyone who notices any strange lumps, aches, or changes in their breast should consult a doctor.

A person’s breasts should be known in terms of shape, structure, and feel. Self-checking for lumps and changes on a regular basis can aid in early diagnosis.

Learn how to perform a breast self-exam by clicking here.


There are numerous forms of breast cancer. A doctor can also diagnose breast cancer in a variety of methods.

A person should check their breasts for any signs of breast cancer on a frequent basis. Mammograms should be performed on older women on a regular basis.

Anyone who notices any strange lumps, aches, or changes in their breast should consult a doctor right away.


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