Disease: Invasive lobular carcinoma


    Invasive lobular carcinoma is a type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules) of the breast.

    Invasive cancer means the cancer cells have broken out of the lobule where they began and have the potential to spread to the lymph nodes and 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 (invasive ductal carcinoma).

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    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
    • A newly inverted nipple

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

    When to see a doctor

    Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. Your doctor will perform an examination and determine whether you need a diagnostic breast X-ray (mammogram) or a breast ultrasound.

    Ask your doctor when to begin screening tests for breast cancer to help detect cancer early and before you may have any signs or symptoms. Routine screening tests may include a physical exam and a mammogram.

    Various organizations differ on their screening recommendations, but many suggest women with an average risk of breast cancer consider beginning 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.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    It's not clear what causes invasive lobular carcinoma.

    Doctors know that invasive lobular carcinoma begins when cells in one or more milk-producing glands of the breast develop mutations in their DNA. The mutations lead to the inability to control cell growth, which results in the cells dividing and growing rapidly. Depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer type, the cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body.

    Lobular carcinoma cells tend to invade breast tissue by spreading out in a distinct way rather than forming a firm nodule. The affected area may have a different feel from the surrounding breast tissue, more like a thickening and fullness, but it's unlikely to feel like a lump.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Diagnosing invasive lobular carcinoma

    Tests and procedures used to diagnose invasive lobular carcinoma include:

    • Mammogram. A mammogram creates an X-ray image of your breast. Invasive lobular carcinoma is less likely to be detected on a mammogram than other types of breast cancer are. Still, a mammogram is a useful diagnostic test.
    • Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of your breast. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be more difficult to detect with ultrasound than may other types of breast cancer.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses a strong magnetic field to create a picture of your breast. Breast MRI may help in evaluating an area of concern when mammogram and ultrasound results are inconclusive. It can also help determine the extent of the cancer within your breast.
    • Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). If an abnormality is detected, your doctor may recommend a biopsy procedure to remove a sample of suspicious breast tissue for laboratory testing.

      A breast biopsy can be done using a needle to draw out fluid or tissue from the breast, or breast tissue can be removed surgically.

    Determining the extent of invasive lobular carcinoma

    Once it's determined that you have invasive lobular carcinoma, your doctor will determine if additional tests are needed to learn the extent (stage) of your cancer. Most women do not require additional tests other than breast imaging, physical exam and blood tests.

    Using this information, your doctor assigns your cancer a Roman numeral that indicates its stage. Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV, with 0 indicating cancer that is very small and noninvasive. Stage IV breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, is cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    To reduce your risk of breast cancer, consider trying to:

    • Discuss the benefits and risks of menopausal hormone therapy with your doctor. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer.

      Some women experience bothersome signs and symptoms during menopause and, for these women, the increased risk of breast cancer may be acceptable in order to relieve menopause signs and symptoms.

      To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.

    • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
    • Exercise most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been active lately, ask your doctor whether exercise is OK and then start slowly.
    • Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight.

      If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy weight-loss strategies. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise. Aim to lose weight slowly — about 1 or 2 pounds a week.

    If you have a family history of breast cancer or feel you may have an increased risk of breast cancer, discuss it with your health care provider. Preventive medications, surgery and more-frequent screening may be options for women with a high risk of breast cancer.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Alternative medicine

    No alternative medicine treatments can cure breast cancer. Instead, complementary and alternative treatments are most helpful for coping with the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, such as hot flashes.

    Alternative treatments for hot flashes

    Hot flashes — bouts of sudden, intense warmness that can leave you sweaty and uncomfortable — can be a symptom of natural menopause or a side effect of hormone therapy for breast cancer.

    Women with breast cancers that use hormones to grow may receive hormone therapy to block the interaction between hormones and cancer cells. Most invasive lobular carcinomas are hormone receptor positive.

    Talk to your doctor if you experience hot flashes. If hot flashes are mild, they're likely to subside over time. In most women, hot flashes eventually disappear. However, some women experience severe and bothersome hot flashes. Many conventional treatments are available for hot flashes, including medications.

    If treatment for hot flashes won't work as well as you'd like, it might help to add complementary and alternative treatments to make you feel better.

    Options might include:

    • Acupuncture
    • Hypnosis
    • Meditation
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Tai chi
    • Yoga

    While none of these alternative treatments is proved to help control hot flashes, some preliminary evidence shows that some breast cancer survivors find them helpful.

    If you're interested in trying alternative treatment for hot flashes, talk to your doctor about your options.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Coping and support

    A diagnosis of breast cancer may be one of the most difficult situations you'll ever face. It can make you feel emotions ranging from shock and fear to anger, anxiety or depression.

    There's no "right" way to feel and act when you're dealing with cancer. With time, you'll find your own way of coping with your feelings. Until then, you may find comfort if you:

    • Learn enough about your cancer to make treatment decisions. Ask your doctor for details about your cancer — the type, stage and treatment options. The more you know, the more comfortable you may feel when making treatment decisions.

      Ask your doctor to recommend good sources of information where you can learn more. Good places to start include the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

    • Seek support from family and friends. Your close friends and family can provide a support system that can help you cope during treatment.

      They can help you with the small tasks around the house that you may not have the energy for during treatment. And they can be there to listen when you need to talk with someone.

    • Connect with other people with cancer. Other people with cancer can offer unique support and insight because they understand what you're experiencing. Connect with others through support groups in your community.

      Ask your doctor about support groups or contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society. Online support groups also are available at sites such as Breastcancer.org.

    • Take care of yourself. During your treatment, allow yourself time to rest.

      Take good care of your body by getting enough sleep so that you wake feeling rested, choosing a diet full of fruits and vegetables, staying as physically active as you're able, and taking time to relax.

      Try to maintain at least some of your daily routine, including social activities.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of invasive lobular carcinoma include:

    • Being female. Women are more likely to develop breast cancer, but men also can develop breast cancer.
    • Older age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age. Women with invasive lobular carcinoma tend to be a few years older than women diagnosed with other types of breast cancer.
    • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). If you've been diagnosed with LCIS — abnormal cells confined within breast lobules — your risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast is increased. LCIS isn't cancer, but is an indication of increased risk of breast cancer of any type.
    • Postmenopausal hormone use. Use of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone during and after menopause has been shown to increase the risk of invasive lobular carcinoma.
    • Inherited genetic cancer syndromes. Women with a rare inherited condition called hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome have an increased risk of both stomach (gastric) cancer and invasive lobular carcinoma.

      Women with certain inherited genes may have an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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