Breast cancer occurs when breast cells begin to grow abnormally. The image and information below shows how cancer cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to other parts of your body through blood and lymph vessels. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, tests will be done to find out if the cancer has spread.

Breast Cancer Types

What is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)?

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is when abnormal cells are detected within the milk ducts. DCIS is non-invasive, which means it has not spread outside of the milk ducts to any of the surrounding breast tissue.

What is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)?

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. Invasive means the abnormal cells have spread outside the ducts (small tubes that conduct the milk to the nipples during breastfeeding) and into the surrounding breast tissue.

What is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma?

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) means the abnormal cells have spread outside the walls of the lobules, which produces the milk that empties into the milk ducts, and into the surrounding breast tissue.

What is Invasive Mucinous Carcinoma?

Invasive Mucinous Carcinoma is a rare subtype of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in which the abnormal cells are within or “float” pools of mucin. It tends to be less aggressive and is less likely to spread to the lymph nodes.

What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Metastatic Breast Cancer is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. The common areas are brain, liver, bones, and lungs. Breast cancer cells spread from the original tumor through the blood stream and the lymphatic system.

What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that usually presents with reddening and swelling of the skin rather than a distinctive mass. This type of breast cancer is rare and only accounts for 1% of all breast cancer cases in the United States.

Picture of Different Types of Breast Cancer

Types of Breast Cancer infographic

Meet Our Breast Cancer Surgeons

The Margie Petersen Breast Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center brings you some of the finest breast cancer care in Southern California.


The Breast Center can be reached at 310-582-7100 select option 2, then again select option 2. If you have questions regarding a new symptom or want to make an appointment for evaluation please call and a staff member will assist with navigating you in the right direction.

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