Types of breast cancer
And other benign breast neoplasms, and other terms related to breast cancer treatment and diagnosis.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer are often confronted with imposing medical terms concerning the various different kinds of breast cancer, and the particular characteristics of her own diagnosis. Quite often the diagnosis is for a benign breast condition, and there can be some anxiety as to whether or not these breast changes indicate increased risk for breast cancer. There are many specific technical terms used in treating breast cancers which are far less stressful once they are understood in simple, layman’s terms.
Various kinds of breast cancer
Most invasive breast cancers are actually of a generic variety, often simply called ‘ductal carcinoma NOS‘ or ‘not otherwise specified. There are about 5 or 6 fairly common types of specific breast cancers which have a particular cellular appearance and behaviour. Beyond this there are numerous rare forms of breast cancer, and quite a number that are more difficult to classify because they have features common two different breast cancer types, or contain a certain percentage of benign disease.
- Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma
- Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma of the breast
- Adenocarcinoma of the breast.
- Tubular carcinoma of the breast
- Invasive cribriform breast carcinoma
- Papillary breast carcinoma
- Micropapillary Breast Carcinoma
- Invasive Medullary Carcinoma of the breast
- Apocrine breast carcinoma
- Invasive ductal cancer with central necrosis
- Paget’s disease
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Pleomorphic cancer of the breast
- Breast Carcinoma with melanotic features
- Breast Carcinoma with choriocarcinomatous features
- Breast Carcinoma with osteoclastic giant cells
- Neuroendocrine carcinoma of the breast
- Small-cell breast carcinoma
- Carcinoid Breast tumors
- Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the breast
- Colloid or mucinous carcinoma of the breast.
- Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma of the breast
- Signet ring cell breast cancer
- Columnar cell mucinous breast carcinoma
- Metaplastic Breast Carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the breast
- Spindle cell breast carcinoma
- Fibromatosis-like carcinoma of the breast
- Mucoepidermoid breast carcinoma –
- Breast Adenocarcinoma with spindle cell metaplasia
- Syringomatous carcinoma of the breast
- Low Grade Adenosquamous carcinoma of the breast
- Lipid-rich carcinoma of the breast.
- Oncocytic carcinoma of the breast
- Adenoid cystic breast carcinoma (ACC)
- Secretory carcinoma of the breast
- Sebaceous breast carcinoma
- Adnexal Carcinoma of the breast
- Glycogen-rich clear cell carcinoma of the breast
- Acinic cell breast carcinoma
- Lymphoma of the breast
By the way, this page is old, but still valid. I have a newer page with up-to-date references about types of breast cancer.
Types of DCIS or ‘in situ’ breast cancers
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ implies that breast cancer has been found, but has not yet infiltrated the breast ducts. ‘In Situ” breast carcinoma can also be located in the breast lobules. Many of the same cellular characteristics of infiltrative and invasive breast cancers can also be seen in ‘in situ‘ ductal and lobular breast carcinomas./p>
- Ductal carcinoma in situ DCIS
- Microinvasive carcinoma of the breast
- Comedo Carcinoma of the breast: Comedo DCIS.
And, I have a newer page about DCIS here.
“Pre-cursor” breast lesions.
Breast Cancer is known to evolve out of certain proliferative breast lesions, which are often referred to as either ‘hyperplasia’, which means very rapid and uncontrolled new cell growth, and ‘neoplasia’, which simply means ‘new cell growth’. In many instances there is nothing malignant-looking about the new cells, and the cells are simply described, on the whole, as a ‘benign epithelial lesion’, or possibly a benign breast papilloma. Some of these hyperplastic and neoplastic changes are known to be pre-cancerous, but others are mostly benign, and it remains a topic of uncertainty. The main issue is whether or not there is anything ‘atypical’ about the cells and the formation.
- Atypical ductal hyperplasia of the breast.
- Concerning breast Lobular Neoplasia
- More on lobular neoplasia.
- Breast Fibroglandular Dysplasia
- Columnar Cell Breast Lesions.
- Breast Flat Epithelial Atypica or FEA
- Atypical Intraductal Epithelial Proliferation AIEP) of the breast.
- Papilloma of the breast.
- Phyllodes tumor of the breast
- Breast Epithelial Hyperplasia.
Benign Proliferative Breast Lesions and Adenomas
Neoplastic cell growth is always a concern for potential breast cancer. While it is true that sometimes breast cancers can develop from epithelial breast neoplasms, most of the time this does not occur. If there is nothing ‘atypical’ about the cells or the lesion itself, then the lesion is most likely one of a number of benign epithelial breast changes. If benign epithelial cell breast changes results in a tumor formation, it is often described as an ‘adenoma’, and if the growth is confined to the breast lobules it might be referred to as an ‘adenosis’.
- Florid Hyperplasia of the breast.
- Apocrine metaplasia of the breast.
- Clear Cell breast Metaplasia
- Breast Adenoma
- Tubular Adenoma of the breast.
- Squamous Cell Metaplasia of the breast.
- Lactating adenoma
- Apocrine breast adenoma
- Nipple adenoma
- Pleomorphic breast adenoma
- Cystic adenoma of the breast
- Breast fibroadenoma
- Hamartoma of the breast.
- Breast fibroadenolipoma
- Sclerosing adenosis of the breast
- Sclerotic breast stroma, breast sclerosis
- Radial Scar
Soft Tissue (mesenchymal) breast tumors
Unlike breast carcinomas, which originate in epithelial cells, there are also breast tumors which develop out of breast ‘soft tissue’ cells. The majority of soft tissue breast tumors are usually benign but can be malignant. Until they are properly diagnosed they may give an appearance of a conventional breast cancer tumor. Mesenchymal cells are immature ‘stem cells’, which can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including connective tissues (sometimes called ‘stromal cells’ as they form ‘supportive structures’, and muscle tissues.
Primarily fibrous soft tissue breast tumors
Primarily stromal soft tissue breast tumors
- Breast Myofibroblastoma
- Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor of the breast
- Solitary fibrous tumor of the breast
- Breast leiomyoma
- Nodular fasciitis of the breast
- Fibromatosis of the breast
- Diabetic Fibrous Mastopathy of the breast
- Hemangiopericytoma of the breast
- Pseudoangiomatous Stromal Hyperplasia of the breast. ( PASH)
- Vascular Breast Tumors, angiolipoma, hemangioma
- Breast Schwannoma
- Breast Neurofibroma
- Granular Cell Tumor of the breast
Myoepithelial Breast Lesions
Some hyperplastic breast lesions are composed of cells which show both myoepithelial and epithelial characteristics. Myoepithelial cells are usually located in a thin layer just above the basement membrane in glandular epithelium. They are commonly found in the sweat glands, salivary glands, and also the mammary glands. Myoepithelial cells are very important for the body’s ‘wound healing’ process, and generally speaking when myoepithelial cells are found in a breat neoplasm, the tumor tends to be benign. However, myoepithelial cells can also become malignant, though rarely, and myoepithelial breast tumor will usually exhibit a certain percentage of malignant myoepithelial cells alongside malignant epithelial cells.