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Lobular Carcinoma (Invasive and In Situ)

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

ILC is the second most common form of invasive breast cancer. It begins in one of the breast lobules, then spreads to other parts of the breast. It’s more likely to be found in both breasts than other types of breast cancer. It can also spread to other areas in the body.

How is invasive lobular carcinoma diagnosed?

You might not feel a distinct lump. Instead, you may feel a thickened area or a hardening in part of your breast. It often occurs in the area above your nipple toward your armpit. Your skin of your breast or nipple may dimple.

Often, ILC can’t be found by a mammogram. If you have a suspicious area, your doctor should order a biopsy to analyze cells. Most biopsies use a needle to extract a sample of cells from the breast. In some instances, though, larger samples or the entire tumor will be removed for analysis.

The biopsy will help your doctor decide whether you have invasive lobular carcinoma and how aggressive it may be.

Invasive lobular carcinoma spreads. So your doctor may recommend additional tests to search for cancer in other parts of your body. These tests may include:

  • CT scan. It's a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body.
  • PET scan . Used together with a CT scan, this test can help find cancer in lymph nodes and other areas.
  • MRI . It uses strong magnets and radio waves to make pictures of the breast and other structures inside your body.
  • Bone scan. A radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into your arm, and pictures are taken to find out if cancer may have traveled to your bones.
  • Chest X-ray: It uses radiation in low doses to make images of structures inside your chest.

Your doctor will also take samples from your lymph nodes in the armpits to check for cancer. This is called axillary lymph node dissection.

The results of your exams will determine the stage of your breast cancer and the best treatment options.

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