Understanding the Different Types of Breast Cancer

Dr. Lindsay Keith

Breast cancer is not a singular disease. It is a collection of several types that differ based on their origin, spread, and genetic factors. Knowing these types can help in understanding your diagnosis, potential treatments, and prognosis.

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

DCIS is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. This type involves changes in the cells that line the milk ducts, which appear cancerous but have not yet invaded surrounding breast tissue.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

As the most common type of breast cancer, IDC begins in the milk ducts and invades the surrounding breast tissue. It has the potential to spread to other body parts through the lymphatic system and bloodstream.

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

ILC originates in the breast’s milk-producing glands or lobules and can spread like IDC to other parts of the body.

Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)

LCIS is a condition wherein abnormal cells are present in the lobules, but they do not spread to surrounding breast tissue.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

IBC is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer causing redness and swelling of the breast.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple Negative Breast Cancer lacks the three most common types of receptors known to fuel breast cancer growth—estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene.

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

This type of breast cancer tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Paget’s Disease of the Nipple

This is a rare form of breast cancer that starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola.

Phyllodes Tumor

Phyllodes Tumors are rare breast tumors that start in the connective tissue of the breast. Most are benign, but some can be cancerous.


This rare cancer forms in the lining of blood vessels and lymph vessels, and in rare instances, it can occur in the breast.

Metaplastic Breast Cancer

Metaplastic Breast Cancer is a rare type of invasive ductal carcinoma that begins in the milk duct and forms different types of tissues such as skin cells or cells that comprise bones.

Remember, each type of breast cancer comes with its own prognosis and treatment options. An accurate diagnosis is crucial to understanding and managing your condition. If you suspect any symptoms of breast cancer, contact a healthcare professional like Dr. Lindsay Keith for an examination.