Woman with a breast cancer awareness ribbon

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and an ideal opportunity to learn more about a disease that affects one in eight American women. In an effort to raise awareness, here is a bit of information about the two most common types of breast cancer and their main characteristics.

1. Ductal carcinoma

This type of cancer, which originates in the milk ducts of the breasts, can be divided into two categories. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive variety that remains within the duct tissues. Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma is more aggressive and involves cancerous cells that have traversed the duct walls and invaded the surrounding breast tissue.

Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 80 percent of all invasive cases.

2. Lobular carcinoma

This type of breast cancer develops in the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands at the end of the ducts. As with the ductal type, lobular carcinoma can be in situ or invasive. The latter is the second most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 10 percent of all invasive cases. The non-invasive variety is sometimes referred to as lobular neoplasia because it’s not a true cancer. Rather, someone with this diagnosis is simply at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to abnormal cell growth.

For more information about the characteristics, prevention and treatment of various types of breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website at cancer.org.

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