Lobular Breast Cancer

Facts About Lobular Breast Cancer

There are various forms of breast cancer, lobular breast cancer is one such form.  Only about 10% of breast cancer patients have invasive lobular breast cancer. The name refers to where the cancer started. While other types of breast cancer begin in the ducts, this cancer begins in the lobules. This cancer is more common in older women.

It is important to note that there is a very distinct difference between lobular breast cancer and lobular carcinoma in situ. The latter is not breast cancer. Instead, it is an indication that you have a much higher risk of developing some form of breast cancer during your life.

While many breast cancer diagnoses can be made after the patient has identified a lump in her breast, lobular breast cancer usually does not present that way. Instead of a lump, some patients may notice a thickening. Others will not have any such sign.

In addition to being difficult to detect during at home breast cancer screenings, lobular breast cancer will sometimes not appear on a mammogram.  If your doctor does notice anything out of the ordinary during a physical examination or a mammogram, he may request an ultrasound. The ultrasound is better at detecting this type of cancer.

For that reason, lobular breast cancer can be more difficult to diagnose than other types. While women diagnosed with this type of cancer have a higher chance of developing it in the other breast (in fact many women are diagnosed in both breasts at the same time), the overall prognosis is the same as with other types of breast cancers.

The treatment for lobular breast cancer is also the same as for other types.  Surgery is usually required. With this type of cancer, the doctor may be more apt to suggest that a double mastectomy be performed. The reason for such a radical suggestion was mentioned above in that there is a higher chance of this type of cancer occurring in the other breast.

Of course, a mastectomy is not necessary in every case. Sometimes the surgeon will be able to successfully remove all of the cancerous cells without the need to remove the entire breast. This is called a lumpectomy.  Women who choose a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy will almost always have to follow the surgery with radiation to kill and stray cancer cells left behind after the surgery.

There is a bit of good news about this type of cancer. Unlike some other forms of the disease, lobular breast cancer is very slow to move outside of the breast. While it can occur, it does not happen as quickly as with some other forms of cancer. This gives the patient a greater chance of survival, particularly if the cancer is caught early.


As with any other type of cancer, early detection is one of the keys to survival. If you notice any changes whatsoever in your breasts, you should see your doctor immediately. There is no reason to panic as most changes that occur within the breasts are not cancerous.

Still, it is better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true when you consider that early detection of the disease can, in some cases, literally mean the difference between life and death.