Invasive lobular carcinoma

Invasive lobular carcinoma is a type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules) of the breast. Invasive lobular carcinoma is invasive cancer. That means the cancer cells have broken out of the lobule where they began and have the potential to spread to other areas of the body.

Invasive lobular carcinoma makes up a small portion of all breast cancers. The most common type of breast cancer begins in the breast ducts (ductal carcinoma).

Invasive lobular carcinoma typically doesn't form a lump, as most women expect with breast cancer. Instead, invasive lobular carcinoma more often causes a thickening of the tissue or fullness in one part of the breast.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

At its earliest stages, invasive lobular carcinoma may cause no signs and symptoms. As it grows larger, invasive lobular carcinoma may cause:

  • An area of thickening in part of the breast
  • A new area of fullness or swelling in the breast
  • A change in the texture or appearance of the skin over the breast, such as dimpling or thickening
  • An inverted nipple

Invasive lobular carcinoma is less likely than other forms of breast cancer to cause a firm breast lump.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Ask your doctor when to begin screening tests for breast cancer. Routine screening tests may include a physical exam and breast X-rays (mammograms). Various organizations differ on their screening recommendations, but many suggest women with an average risk of breast cancer consider beginning yearly mammograms in their 40s. If you have a family history of breast cancer or other factors that increase your risk of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend beginning screening mammograms or other tests at an earlier age.

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