How Common Is Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer?
Invasive Lobular Breast cancer which is also referred to as lobular carcinoma is the second most prevalent type, accounting for around 1 in 10 of every breast cancer diagnosis. Although a woman can develop this type of breast cancer at any age, it is most prevalent between the ages of 45 and 55 years old.
What Are The Symptoms Of Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer?
Women are always taught to examine their breasts regularly feeling for unusual lumps or bumps. However, with Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer, a lump may not always be apparent. Instead, many women end up with a thickened area of breast tissue. Although there are no definitive signs to look out for in the case of home examination, common signs and symptoms that might be worth discussing with Dr. Gorman include:
A palpable mass, a noticeable thickening or swelling of a small area of the breast, an apparent change in the size or shape of the nipple – such as it suddenly becoming inverted, a nipple discharge, and/or a change in the skin, such as thickening or possible dimpling.
It is still critically important to get into the habit of regularly checking your breasts for any signs or symptoms of change. The quicker any difference is noted and then identified, the higher the success rate of dealing with any issues found.
How Is Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
At times it is found when searching for lumps and bumps when doing a breast self examination; a large percentage of Invasive Breast Cancer diagnosis is made when women have their annual mammogram. Sometimes, if the symptoms are identified by a primary care physician, the patient will be referred to a specialist such as Dr. Gorman.
The first thing Dr. Gorman will do is take down your medical history and then perform a physical examination. Part of this examination may also include checking your lymph nodes, both under your arms and at the base of your neck. This helps to identify if there is cancer present and if it has spread outside of the lobules.
Dr. Gorman has many years of clinical experience in this field, and so after the examination, she will normally conduct some other tests. The type of test chosen will normally depend on your age, but some of the tests used include:
An Ultrasound – This test tends to be the preferred choice for any woman under the age of 35
A Breast X-Ray, which is more commonly referred to as a Mammogram.
A Biopsy – In this test, a small sample of cells or tissue is taken from the concerning area. The cells or tissue is then sent off to the laboratory for closer examination under the microscope.
An MRI Scan of the breast – This provides a more advanced view of the breast than a standard Mammogram.
How Is Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer Treated?
As with all types of cancer, the kind of treatment and indeed how aggressive it needs to be will very much rely upon the aggressiveness of the cancer, its stage, and the overall health of the patient. Surgery is the primary option, although there may also be the need for other types of therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation and hormone treatment. At the Texas Breast Center, Dr. Gorman will discuss the various options available to ensure that the patient has a more in-depth understanding of both the situation and the treatment options.
The Surgical Options
The choice of surgery usually is dependent on just how invasive the cancer is, and consequently how far it has spread within the breast. The less invasive procedure is known as a lumpectomy. This occurs through a small incision, ideally somewhere where scarring will be less visible, and then the removal of the tumor as well as a rim of the surrounding healthy tissue. The reason why some healthy tissue is taken away is to try and ensure that all of the cancer has been removed. The benefit of a lumpectomy is that in most cases, the patient can keep the majority of the breast, and generally speaking the recovery time is much less.
In more extreme cases where the cancer is larger or in multiple locations within the breast, then a mastectomy may be the best option. A mastectomy is an operation where all of the breast tissue is removed; There are different types of Mastectomy – (1) a simple mastectomy where Dr. Gorman would remove the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue, and the nipple and areola; (2) a modified radical mastectomy, which removes everything that a simple mastectomy would, plus any lymph nodes in the armpit closest to the breast in question; (3) a nipple-sparing mastectomy where everything is removed as in a simple mastectomy except the nipple and areola stay intact. All these mastectomy types can be followed with a reconstruction of the breast.
What Are The Prognosis and Survival Rates of Invasive Lobular Cancer?
As with most cancers, breast cancer is divided into stages. The more advanced and aggressive the symptoms of cancer the higher the level. The earlier that breast cancer is detected, and treatment started, the better the chances of a complete recovery.
The survival rates for patients with Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer are relatively high. Statistics show that following treatment about 78% of patients live at least another five years which is the baseline calculation for cancer survival. Around 50% of patients had a 30-year survival rate.
Valerie Gorman, MD, FACS, is a breast cancer surgeon. She is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and serves as Chief of Surgery and Medical Director of Surgical Services at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie. She is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical Education position at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine.
- Certificate, Physician Leadership Program, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (2010)
- M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, Texas (June 1999)
- B.S., Biola University, LaMirada, California, (1994) Magna Cum Laude
- Residency in General Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas (June 2004)