Types of Breast Cancer

It is very difficult to absolve everything when you first hear the words “you have cancer. A The Olive Branch of Hope we understand the shock, fear and confusion a diagnosis of breast cancer can bring.

It help to talk to your doctor before you talk to anyone else. Ask the right questions to help you get the facts straight.

Don’t go to the doctor alone. Take a family member or friend with you and let them record the information for you. Revising the information at a later date may be easier for you .

There are many types of breast cancer. It is important that you understand the type of breast cancer you have. Knowing the type of cancer you have can influence the treatment you are offered.

Sharing the news with family and friends can be difficult. When you decide to share the news let them help you.

Deciding on your treatment options is the next step. If you find it difficult, this may be a good time to involve your family members. They want what is best for you.

Listed are some explanations of types of breast cancer that you may find helpful. Our services are fee and there is always someone you can talk to so please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is early breast cancer, sometimes described as intraductal or non-invasive cancer. This means that cancer cells have developed inside the milk ducts, but remain entirely in-situ (in their place of origin) because they have not yet developed the ability to spread outside of these ducts, either within the breast or elsewhere in the body. Both men and women can develop DCIS.

If DCIS is left untreated, the cells may become invasive and develop the ability to spread from the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue and beyond. The type, size and grade of the DCIS can help predict if it will become invasive but currently there is no way of knowing for certain in each individual case.

Invasive breast cancer

Invasive primary breast cancer is breast cancer that has the potential to spread from the breast to other parts of the body. The most common type of invasive breast cancer is invasive breast cancer of no special type (sometimes called invasive ductal cancer). This accounts for most breast cancer diagnoses, but there are many other less common special types.

Special type means when the cells are looked at under a microscope they have features that class them as a particular type of cancer. Some types of invasive breast cancer are outlined below.

Invasive ductal breast cancer/Invasive breast cancer of no special type

You may see no special type invasive breast cancer – written as NST or NOS (not otherwise specified). It’s also referred to as invasive ductal breast cancer. Invasive breast cancer of no special type is the most common breast cancer in both women and men and accounts for about 75% of all breast cancers.

Invasive lobular breast cancer

Invasive lobular breast cancer is the second most common invasive breast cancer accounting for about 10-15% of all breast cancers. It occurs when the cancer cells spread outside the lobules and into the breast tissue around them.

Inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a fast growing type of breast cancer which accounts for between 1-4% of all breast cancers. The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer are also common symptoms of breast infections.

Inflammatory breast cancer gets its name because the skin of the breast develops a red inflamed appearance and may feel warm and tender to the touch. The skin may also appear pitted like the skin of an orange. The redness and swelling (edema) is caused by cancer cells blocking tiny channels called lymph channels in the breast tissue.

Triple negative breast cancer

Some breast cancers are referred to as triple negative. This means the breast cancer is estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative and HER2 receptor negative which is why it’s called ‘triple negative’ breast cancer. Around 15-20% of people with breast cancer test negative for all three of these receptors. Special and non-special types of breast cancer can be triple negative.

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