Invasive lobular carcinoma is a breast cancer that affects the lobules of the breast that produce milk.

The meaning of the invasive cancer is that the cells that separated from the lobule tend to spread to the lymph nodes and other body areas.

Invasive lobular carcinoma normally doesn’t form a lump (which is common in breast cancer), but the breast change that happens feels like a thick, full part and it differs from the rest of the breast tissue.



Invasive lobular carcinoma might not show any signs or symptoms in the beginning. But as it gets bigger, it might cause:

  • Changed texture of the skin over the breast
  • Thick area in some part of the breast
  • Fullness or swelling in the breast area
  • Inverted nipple



The causes of invasive lobular carcinoma are not clear.

However, the doctors have knowledge that when the cells in one or more milk-producing glands of the breast develop a mutation in their DNA, the invasive lobular carcinoma begins. The mutations are results for the inability the cell growth to be controlled, what leads to rapid growth and division of the cells. The cells can spread to other body parts. Lobular carcinoma cells usually invade the surrounding parts of the breast tissue in a star-like manner. The part that is affected can feel different from the rest of the breast tissue. It is a more thick and full part, but it doesn’t feel like a lump.

Risk factors

The risk of invasive lobular carcinoma can be greater if:

  • The patient is female, as it is more likely for a woman to develop a breast cancer, than men
  • The patient is older, as the risk increases with the age
  • The patient has been diagnosed with LCIS
  • The patient is using postmenopausal hormone (estrogen and progesterone during and after menopause)
  • The patient has inherited genetic cancer syndromes



The treatment for invasive lobular carcinoma usually consists of both surgery and additional therapy that may be chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. The treatment process depends on the aggressiveness and stage of the cancer, the overall health and preferences of the patient.


Surgery may include:

-lumpectomy-removing the cancer and small part of healthy tissue;

-mastectomy-removing all of the breast tissue

-sentinel lymph node biopsy-lymph nodes are removed and tested for cancer cells

-axillary lymph node dissection-removing additional lymph nodes, if cancer cells are being found in the tested ones


Additional therapy may include:

-Chemotherapy treatment that uses drugs, which can be given through vein or pills, to kill cancer cells after surgery.

-Radiation which is a therapy that uses X-rays to kill cancer cells. It is recommended after lumpectomy or mastectomy.

-Hormone therapy that is an option if the cancer cells are hormone sensitive what is determined after a sample of the cells is being tested.



To lower the risk of breast cancer, a patient should consider the following:

  • Discussing hormone therapy with the doctor (benefits and risks)
  • Drinking alcohol moderately or not at all
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes almost every day
  • Maintaining a healthy weight