Lobular carcinoma begins in the breast sacs (lobules) that produce milk. Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) has spread beyond this area to other breast tissues, lymph nodes, or to sites beyond the breast. It is the second most common type of breast cancer, accounting for one out of 10 cases.
Compared to other types of breast cancer, lobular carcinoma is most often seen in both breasts and presents as multiple masses (multicentric). Non-invasive lobular carcinoma, also called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), is a precancerous finding.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in the Stockton region, St. Joseph's Cancer Institute’s trusted team of oncologists, nurse navigators, and specialists offer the latest care, personalized to your unique case. Find a Doctor today to learn more about our multidisciplinary approach and the right treatment for you.
Lobular Carcinoma Symptoms
The main symptom is a thickening or hardening of breast tissue instead of a mass (lump) with well-defined borders. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Skin changes on the breast or nipple
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Change in size, shape, or appearance of the breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple or nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk
There are no specific symptoms for LCIS. It does not usually show up on a mammogram.
Diagnosing Lobular Carcinoma
If you have a suspicious area, your doctor will likely recommend a biopsy. Most of the time, the sample of cells will tell your doctor about the type, grade, HER2 status, and hormone receptor status. This information guides your treatment plan. In some cases, all of this information is not available until after surgery to remove the cancer.
In most cases, doctors find LCIS during a biopsy for another breast condition.
Lobular Carcinoma Treatment
Generally, Dignity Health doctors suggest surgery as the main treatment for most cases of ILC. Doctors will stage your cancer to determine the best surgery for you. A lumpectomy removes the tumor and a mastectomy removes the entire breast. Radiation therapy is usually necessary after lumpectomy.
Using the most advanced method, our other treatments include:
- Hormone therapy is used to treat hormone receptor-positive tumors, which grow in response to estrogen or progesterone. Hormone therapy either blocks hormone receptors or lowers hormone levels to slow cancer growth.
- Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
- Targeted therapies look for markers on cancer cells and specifically destroy only those cells that have them. This may be an option for hormone receptor-positive tumors and HER2-positive tumors.
Standard treatments do not apply to LCIS because it is precancerous. Instead, your doctor may recommend careful observation, hormone therapy to prevent breast cancer, or prophylactic mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. Trust your doctor to support your well-being every step of the way.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute is proud to provide expertise in oncology services to patients with lobular carcinoma in Stockton and surrounding areas.