Lobular carcinoma is a type of cancer that begins in the breast’s lobules, or milk-producing sacs. There are two types of lobular carcinoma, with invasive lobular carcinoma being the second most common form of breast cancer. The second type, noninvasive lobular carcinoma, is a rare condition. It’s commonly referred to as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) because the tumor is confined within the lobules.
Treatment is very different for both types of lobular carcinoma. Your cancer specialist at Dignity Health North State will identify your type of breast cancer to deliver the most effective, personalized treatment. For cancer care that’s rooted in expertise and humankindness, Find a Doctor to treat lobular breast cancer in Northern California.
What Causes Lobular Cancer?
Research studies haven’t confirmed the exact cause of lobular cancer. However, there are known risk factors for developing the disease.
Being female is the main risk factor, but other circumstances that can increase your chances are:
- Dense breast tissue
- Previous exposure to radiation
- Early menstruation (before 12)
- Late menopause (after 55)
- Family or personal history of breast cancer
- Mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
Recognizing Lobular Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of lobular carcinoma are similar to other types of breast cancer. However, a distinctive symptom of lobular carcinoma is a thickening or hardening of the breast tissue. This is different than the distinctive lump found in other forms of breast cancer.
Other symptoms include:
- Nipple discharge
- Skin changes on the nipple or breast
- An inverted nipple
- Swelling of part of all of the breast
Although it is a rare occurrence, some men develop lobular carcinoma. The symptoms are the same for both men and women, so talk to your doctor about any unusual changes in your breast or chest area.
Diagnosing & Treating Lobular Breast Cancer at Dignity Health North State
If lumps or masses appear on your mammogram result, your oncology specialist will recommend a biopsy to learn if the tumor is cancerous and its unique characteristics. After examining biopsy results and identifying the type, grade, and HER2 and hormone receptor status, your doctor will recommend the most effective treatment plan.
Treatment for Invasive Lobular Cancer
Surgery, such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy, are the two common treatment options for ILC. Radiation therapy usually follows surgery to remove remaining cancer cells. Other standard breast cancer treatments are also effective for treating invasive lobular cancer.
Treatment for Lobular Cancer in Situ
Since LCIS is precancerous, it is not considered a true type of breast cancer. The treatment approach for LCIS is different than other forms of breast cancer. Your doctor may choose to monitor the cancer or suggest hormone therapy or prophylactic mastectomy to prevent abnormal cells from becoming invasive.
Screening exams, such as a mammogram, can detect breast cancer early. Ask your doctor at Dignity Health North State about your risks and if you should begin screening.