Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) is the second most common form of breast cancer diagnosed, representing approximately 15% of invasive breast cancers. This type of cancer is sometimes more difficult to feel on self-examination or see on standard types of breast imaging, and rather than forming a lump may cause more subtle changes in the breast like tethering of the skin or a change in the shape of the breast.

This type of breast cancer is not necessarily any more difficult to treat by comparison to invasive ductal cancer of the breast, but due to difficulties if being able to feel it in the breast by self-examination may be larger than other types of breast cancer when the diagnosis is made.


Similar to invasive ductal cancer, lobular breast cancer is diagnosed by imaging with mammograms and ultrasound and a breast biopsy. It is not uncommon to investigate this type of breast cancer with a breast MRI scan as well, as it often gives the most accurate information about the size of this type of cancer by comparison to mammogram and ultrasound.

Steps of diagnosis include:

  • Digital mammography
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • MRI

ILC can be treated with either a wide local excision (lumpectomy) or mastectomy depending on the size and location of the tumour and wherever possible patient preference. Surgery will also be recommended to remove some lymph nodes at the same time as the tumour, similar to the treatment for invasive ductal cancer. The type of surgery to the lymph nodes will depend upon their appearance in pre-operative tests.

In addition, your oncologist may recommend other treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or anti-hormonal tablet therapy, but will offer you a consultation to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of any additional treatment.


As with all types of breast cancer, this will depend on whether the disease is localised to the breast or has been able to spread to the lymph nodes under your arm or elsewhere in your body. This information will be available to patients as a result of information we get back following the surgical part of your treatment, or if additional body scans (CT) are organised for you during your investigation and treatment.

Discussion with Mr McIntosh is important to answer any questions that you may have. For information about any additional conditions not featured within the site, please contact us for more information.


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