Lobular carcinoma starts in the breast lobules, or the sacs that produce milk. The second most common form of breast cancer after invasive ductal carcinoma is invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC). In ILC, the cancer has spread beyond the breast lobule to lymph nodes, other breast tissues, or to areas beyond the breast. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is noninvasive lobular carcinoma. This is a rare, precancerous condition.
At Dignity Health’s Bay Area hospitals, we offer every patient exceptional cancer care services. If you have been diagnosed with lobular carcinoma breast cancer in the Bay Area, you can Find a Doctor near you.
Lobular Carcinoma Symptoms
Unlike other forms of breast cancer that produce a lump with well-defined borders, the main symptom of lobular carcinoma is a hardening or thickening of the breast. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Change in size, shape, or appearance of the nipple or breast
- Nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
- Inverted nipple
- Skin changes on the nipple or breast
LCIS has no symptoms and it usually does not appear on a mammogram.
Diagnosing Lobular Carcinoma
You doctor will suggest a biopsy if you have a suspicious area on your breast. This sample of cells can tell your doctor about the grade, type, HER2 status, and hormone receptor status of the cancer. Your doctor will use this information to develop a treatment plan specialized for your needs. In some cases, the information is not available until after surgery.
Doctors usually find LCIS during a biopsy for another breast condition.
Treatment of Lobular Carcinoma
Our cancer care team is dedicated to providing state-of-art treatment options for lobular carcinoma. Most cases of ICL are treated with surgery, the extent of which depends on the stage of the cancer. Lumpectomy removes the tumor as well as a small area of normal cells around it. A mastectomy removes the entire breast. Radiation therapy is usually necessary after lumpectomy.
Other treatments offered at our Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area include:
- Chemotherapy kills cancer cells or stops them from growing.
- Targeted therapies use markers on cancer cells to identify and destroy them.
- Hormone therapy helps inhibit growth of hormone receptor-positive tumors.
Because LCIS is precancerous, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy or prophylactic mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, or careful observation.
No matter your treatment, trust your Dignity Health doctor to explain all your options and help you feel as comfortable as possible.