Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the ducts and lobes of the breast. When breast cancer has spread outside the ducts or lobes into normal breast tissue, it is said to be invasive.
The main types of invasive breast cancer are:
Ductal carcinoma, which is cancer that begins in the ducts of the breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer.
Lobular carcinoma, which is cancer that begins in the lobes of the breast. This is the second most common type.
Some breast cancer is a mixture of both ductal and lobular carcinoma.
And some breast cancers also have a large amount of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2 or HER-2/neu). These breast cancers tend to grow faster and spread more quickly than breast cancers without as much HER-2. So, HER-2 positive (HER-2+) breast cancers are usually treated with a targeted medicine (such as trastuzumab) and chemotherapy.
If the breast cancer cells don't have estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or large amounts of HER-2 protein, they are said to be triple-negative. Triple-negative breast cancer is a less common type of breast cancer. It tends to grow faster and spread more quickly and is harder to treat than breast cancers that have hormone receptors. Medicines that target hormone receptors or HER-2 won't help with triple-negative cancer, but chemotherapy can help.
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Douglas A. Stewart, MD, FRCPC - Medical Oncology
Medical Review:Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Douglas A. Stewart, MD, FRCPC - Medical Oncology