What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. It occurs when cells in the breast grow abnormally, forming a tumour or lump.
Breast cancer is not a single disease. There are many types and subtypes. There are two main types of breast cancer: non-invasive and invasive.
Specialist treatment and support for young people diagnosed with breast cancer
Specialist treatment and support for young people with cancer aged 15-25 is provided by the Youth Cancer Services (YCS) based in major hospitals throughout Australia. Canteen also offers events and other support for young people with cancer.
Types of breast cancer
Non-invasive breast cancer
In non-invasive breast cancer, also called carcinoma in situ, the cells look like cancer cells but have not spread to nearby tissues. Non-invasive breast cancer can develop into invasive breast cancer.
The main types of non-invasive breast cancer are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): abnormal cells in the breast ducts (a tube in the breast that carries milk from the breast lobules to the nipple – also called milk ducts)
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): abnormal cells in the breast lobules (a gland that makes milk)
Invasive breast cancer
Invasive breast cancer has spread outside the breast ducts or lobules of the breast into surrounding breast tissue.
There are two main types are of invasive breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.
Less common types of invasive breast cancer include: Paget’s disease of the nipple; inflammatory breast cancer; medullary carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma and papillary carcinoma.
If the cancer spreads (metastasises) beyond the breast to other parts of the body, it is called metastatic breast cancer, or advanced breast cancer.
Subtypes of breast cancer
The subtypes of breast cancer are based on the genes a cancer expresses.
The three main subtypes are:
- Hormone receptor positive breast cancer
- HER2 positive breast cancer
- Triple negative breast cancer
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with breast cancer? Get support here:
Counselling and individual support
Canteen's counsellors and psychologists are specially trained to understand the challenges that cancer brings. Our counselling services are confidential and completely free.
Events & programs
Connect with other young people who know what you're going through and get some much-needed space away from the daily pressures of living with cancer.
When cancer’s in your life, Canteen is in your corner.
Cancer affects everyone differently. That’s why Canteen provides a wide range of support services to help you overcome the specific challenges you’re dealing with.