Skip to Content

Breast Cancer Facts and Types

Our Approach

Breast medical oncologist Jennifer Litton, M.D., and other Breast Center experts take a team approach to offer patients the most advanced treatments, including personalized therapy.

When you are treated for breast cancer at MD Anderson’s Nellie B. Connally Breast Center, you can rest assured we are doing everything possible to help you recover and get back to a healthy life. You benefit from the expertise available at one of the most comprehensive and complete breast cancer centers in the United States.

A team of top physicians, including oncologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons and radiation oncologists, customizes your breast cancer treatment to be sure it is the most-advanced and least-invasive possible. Our skilled plastic surgeons offer multiple reconstruction options, using innovative procedures that focus on your quality of life. And a specially trained support team, including nurses, dietitians and therapists, helps make sure you receive personalized, coordinated breast cancer care.

Advanced Techniques, Personal Care

We treat every type of breast cancer with the latest treatments, including personalized therapies based on the cancer’s specific genetic makeup. We have the expertise to examine each breast cancer tumor carefully to determine gene-expression profiles, which then guide us toward the most effective, gentlest treatment targeted specifically to the cancer. This approach sets us above and beyond most cancer centers.

Special clinics focus on caring for patients with particular needs, including women with inflammatory breast cancer and young women. In addition, we have extensive expertise in treating breast cancer during pregnancy and helping women preserve fertility after breast cancer treatment.

And we’re leading the investigation into new methods of breast cancer diagnosis and care. We are proud to be one of the few breast cancer centers in the nation to house a prestigious federally funded SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) program.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important to be evaluated by expert doctors. We can help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Advanced breast cancer treatments including targeted therapies, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and sentinel node biopsy
  • Least-invasive breast cancer procedures, including breast-sparing surgery
  • Range of breast reconstruction techniques
  • Genetic counseling for women at risk of breast cancer
  • Nationally known research program with numerous clinical trials, many not found elsewhere
  • Triple-negative breast cancer is part of MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program: an ambitious effort to reduce cancer deaths through the rapid discovery of new therapies

Breast Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Breast cancer is treated in our:

Find Your MD Anderson Location

Laurine Schuler

“My cancer experience taught me the importance of going to the best place to be treated by the best doctors as a first resort. For us that was MD Anderson.”

Breast Cancer Survivor Laurine Schuler

Breast Cancer Facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. It affects one of every eight American women.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 192,370 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and the number of new cases has declined over the past decade. More than 40,000 women lose their lives to this disease annually.

Men can develop breast cancer, but it happens much less often than in women. Nearly 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

Breast Cancer Types

There are two main types of breast cancer. Breast tumors may have a single type of cancer, a combination of types, or a mixture of invasive and noninvasive (in situ) cancer.

Ductal carcinoma (cancer) is the most common form of breast cancer. Tumors form in the cells of the milk ducts, which carry milk to the nipples. Ductal carcinoma can be invasive with the potential to spread or non-invasive (also called ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS). About one in five new breast cancer cases are DCIS. The chance for successful treatment of DCIS usually is very high.

Lobular carcinoma (cancer) occurs in the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands. Lobular breast cancer can be non-invasive (in situ or LCIS, also called lobular neoplasia) or invasive (have a tendency to spread). About one in 10 breast cancer cases are invasive lobular cancer.

Less common types of breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer that affects the dermal lymphatic system. Rather than forming a lump, IBC tumors grow in flat sheets that cannot be felt in a breast exam. Read more about IBC

Triple-negative breast cancer is usually an invasive ductal carcinoma with cells that lack estrogen and progesterone receptors and do not have an excess of HER2 protein on their surfaces. These types of breast cancers tend to spread more quickly and do not respond to hormone therapy or drugs that target HER2.

Recurrent breast cancer is cancer that has returned after being undetected for a time. It can occur in the remaining breast tissue or at other sites such as the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Even though these tumors are in new locations, they still are called breast cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center