Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast, or ILC, is a less common variation of breast cancer, accounting for only five to ten percent of all cases. Because of their close relationship, this condition is also known as infiltration lobular carcinoma in situ. The in situ variety is technically not classified as an actual cancer, but patients are at a high risk of having the condition progress to invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast. Using the term invasive means that the actual tumors have spread from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast. Due to this spread, invasive lobular carcinoma prognosis can be difficult depending on how much spreading has occurred and what treatment techniques will be needed to correct the problem. While invasive lobular carcinoma and infiltration lobular carcinoma in situ are both more common in older women, it can effect women of all ages.
In the majority of cases, there may be very few or no symptoms present in patients. The most common detection method is during annual mammograms when the presence of an abnormal area could indicate a possible problem. Even with mammograms, the condition can be difficult to spot. This is due to the tumors not forming exact lumps. In general, ILC forms in a line, making detection much more difficult. Invasive lobular carcinoma prognosis is best in patients that detect the condition early through mammogram screening. The first physical symptoms that will be experienced by a person with this condition will be a hardened or thickened feeling in the flesh of the breast. With ILC, there are not usually dramatic lumps that will be noticed. The skin changing texture can also be an indicator, as well as a nipple that has reversed position and turned inwards. Other possible symptoms include the following signs: breast swelling, skin irritation, dimpling, breast or nipple pain, discharge from the nipple, scaled or red skin, or the development of a lump under the patient’s arm.
The specific invasive lobular carcinoma prognosis will also depend on which treatment techniques are used to combat the problem. A local physician will need to run test to determine if the cancer is local to the breast or has spread to the lymph nodes. Frequently, a surgical operation is the primary treatment option for ILC. A patient and doctor will need to work together to figure out whether a lumpectomy or mastectomy is the best solution. The surgery will be accompanied by a biopsy of the sentinel lymph node in the breast. The other main option for smaller tumors or ones that have spread is the use of radiation therapy. In this process, the affected area will be bombarded with high energy rays that are capable of killing the cancer while minimizing damage to healthy cells. Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast is a treatable form of cancer and a woman should seek medical attention at the first signs of this condition.