Women’s breasts contain glands called lobules. These are the glands that produce milk. The milk then moves through ducts to the nipple. The majority of breast cancers start in the ducts of the breasts. Some breast cancers, though, begin in the lobules.
There are two conditions that can affect the lobules:
WebMD senior writer Miranda Hitti interviewed breast cancer survivors as part
of a series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The series, called “Me & the
Girls,” explores the personal stories of these women after they were diagnosed
with breast cancer.
Breast cancer survivor Zunilda Guzman, 39, lives in the Miami area. Guzman
noticed a lump on her chest in April 2008 and thought it might be related to
her breast implants. She asked her gynecologist to schedule a mammogram, and
Invasive lobular carcinoma, also called infiltrating lobular carcinoma
What is lobular carcinoma in situ?
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is technically not cancer; but, it is thought to be a marker for the development of all types of invasive and non-invasive breast cancers.
Lobular carcinoma in situ results in the presence of abnormal cells in the milk-producing glands of the breasts. These cells rarely spread outside of the lobules to other parts of the breast or body.
Most women who are diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ have not yet gone through menopause. In one out of every two cases, multiple lobules within the breast are affected. About a third of the time, there are areas of lobular carcinoma in situ in both breasts.
Even though lobular carcinoma in situ can’t spread, it is important to keep an eye on the condition. About one in ever five women with this condition will develop a separate invasive breast cancer within the next 15 years. The majority of these later cancers begin in the milk ducts, rather than the lobules and both breasts may be involved.
How is lobular carcinoma in situ diagnosed?
Lobular carcinoma in situ usually has no symptoms. Many times, it’s not even detected by routine screening mammograms. This is because, unlike other breast cancers and related conditions, LCIS does not result in the formation of calcium deposits in certain breast cells.
Lobular carcinoma in situ is most commonly diagnosed after a biopsy. Typically, the biopsy has been done to assess some other abnormality detected by physical examination or mammogram.
Biopsy findings for LCIS can be very similar to an actual breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ. Because of this, you may want to consider asking for a second opinion to confirm your diagnosis.