About Your Diagnosis

St. Luke's Womens Services

Not all breast tumors are the same. There are more than 15 types or subtypes. The earliest form of breast cancer is labeled In Situ. In these cases, the abnormal cells or tumor is contained within the duct or lobes and has not spread, or invaded, other tissue. However, women with In Situ breast conditions are considered at higher risk for invasive breast cancer.

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

In this condition, the cancer is contained and growing only inside the ducts of the breast. At this stage, the cancer has not spread to other tissue.

Lobular Carcinoma In Situ

Lobules are hollow glands, which, at appropriate times, make milk. Sometimes, these glands develop abnormal cells.

Invasive Breast Cancer

This condition occurs when cancer cells that originated in the milk ducts or lobes spread to other healthy surrounding tissue. Sometimes, invasive or infiltrating breast cancer can travel to other parts of the body through the blood stream and lymph system.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This rare and aggressive form of breast cancer gives the appearance of inflammation. There also may also be a sudden increase in breast size; itchy breast skin; breast pain; swollen lymph nodes under the arm or above the collar bone; nipple retraction; and a change in breast skin color. This form of breast cancer usually affects younger women and is more common among young African American women. This breast cancer tends to spread early throughout the body.

Treatment options for breast cancer can include:

  • Surgery
  • Sentinal lymph node biopsy
  • External beam radiation therapy (whole breast irradiation)
  • Partial breast irradiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Promising clinical trials
  • Targeted biologic therapies
  • Gene expression profile testing
  • Breast reconstruction