Understanding The Different Types Of Breast Cancer

There are a number of different types of breast cancer and their classification is based on which cells the cancer originates from, as well as whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body. The following is by no means a complete list of all breast cancer types, but it is a good place to start.


Nearly 1-in-5 new breast cancer cases will end up being DCIS and, if caught early enough, nearly all women with DCIS can be cured.

DCIS is a breast cancer that originates within a milk duct and it is classified as 'in situ' because it has not yet spread to surrounding breast tissue; meaning that it is also a non-invasive form of breast cancer.


IDC is the most common form of breast cancer and it accounts for approximately 8-in-10 invasive breast cancer diagnoses.

Like DCIS, IDC originates within the milk ducts. Unlike DCIS, however, IDC eventually grows through the wall of the milk duct and into surrounding breast tissue. Because of this, IDC has the potential to spread (or metastasize) to other parts of the body.


Approximately 1-in-10 invasive breast cancers is an ILC. These tumors begin in the milk producing glands, also known as lobules, and they have a tendency to metastasize.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

IBC is quite rare, only accounting for approximately 1-5% of all breast cancers. Despite the fact that IBC is typically a type of invasive ductal carcinoma, IBC has a different outlook, symptom set, and treatment plan. The following are some of the ways in which IBC is different from other breast cancer types:

  • Typically occurs in women under 40
  • Tends to be more aggressive and grows more quickly
  • Usually has a less favorable prognosis
  • More common in women who are overweight or obese
  • Has a different set of symptoms (see below)

The symptoms of Inflammatory Breast Cancer typically arise quite quickly, within the span of 3 to 6 months, and include:

  • Redness on an area greater than one third of the breast
  • Swelling of the skin of the breast
  • Pitting/thickening of the skin (orange peel)
  • Warmth of the breast
  • Breast itching, pain, or tenderness
  • One breast that is larger than the other
  • An inverted or retracted nipple


This is an excerpt from a post written by Food Period and originally published on October 10, 2019.

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