When you have breast cancer, cells in your breast lobules or milk ducts have begun to grow ‘abnormally’ or out of control. When cells grow abnormally, they can form a mass, known as a tumour.
Both women and men can get breast cancer, but it’s rarer in men.
Different types of breast cancer
Non-invasive breast cancer
‘Non-invasive’ means the cancer cells haven’t spread from their original location.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) – in DCIS, cancer cells are found within the milk ducts of the breast.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) – in LCIS, abnormal cells are found within breast lobules – but this is not cancer. LCIS increases the risk of developing cancer, but most women with this condition will not develop breast cancer.
Invasive breast cancer
‘Invasive’ means the cancer cells have spread to nearby tissue.
- Early breast cancer – in early breast cancer, cancer cells have spread from the ducts or lobules into nearby breast tissue. The cancer may have spread to lymph nodes in the armpit. Most breast cancers are found when they are invasive. The most common types are invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).
- Locally advanced breast cancer – in locally advanced breast cancer, the cancer has spread to other areas near the breast, such as the chest (including the skin, muscles and bones of the chest).
Secondary or advanced breast cancer
- Metastatic breast cancer – in ‘metastatic’ breast cancer, the cancer cells have spread from the breast to other areas of the body, such as the bones, liver or lungs.
For more information about breast cancer, please see http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types