Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Non-invasive or Invasive Breast Cancer

Normal CellsNormal Cell

Breast cancer usually begins either in the cells of the lobules, which are milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. The pathology report will tell you whether or not the cancer has spread outside the milk ducts or lobules of the breast where it started.

Non-invasive cancers stay within the milk ducts or lobules in the breast. They do not grow into or invade normal tissues within or beyond the breast.Non-invasive cancers are sometimes called carcinoma in situ (“in the same place”) or pre-cancers.  

Invasive cancers do grow into normal, healthy tissues. Most breast cancers are invasive. Whether the cancer is non-invasive or invasive will determine your treatment choices and how you might respond to the treatments you receive.

Non-Invasive CellsNon-Invasive Cells

Invasive CellsInvasive Cells

In some cases, a breast cancer may be both invasive and non-invasive. This means that part of the cancer has grown into normal tissue and part of the cancer has stayed inside the milk ducts or milk lobules. It would be treated as an invasive cancer.

A breast cancer also may be a “mixed tumor,” meaning that it contains a mixture of cancerous ductal cells and lobular cells. It would be treated as a ductal carcinoma.

If there is more than one tumor in the breast, the breast cancer is described as either multifocal or multicentric. In multifocal breast cancer, all of the tumors arise from the original tumor, and they are usually in the same section of the breast. If the cancer is multicentric, it means that all of the tumors formed separately, and they are often in different areas of the breast.

In most cases, you can expect the breast cancer to be classified as one of the following.

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