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Lobular Carcinoma

< Breast Cancer

Lobular Carcinoma

About Lobular Carcinoma

Lobular carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. Lobular carcinoma may be either lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or invasive lobular carcinoma. LCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast. LCIS rarely becomes invasive cancer, but having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast. In invasive lobular carcinoma, cancer has spread from the lobules to surrounding normal tissue. It can also spread through the blood and lymph systems to other parts of the body.


At its earliest stages, invasive lobular carcinoma may cause no signs and symptoms. As it grows larger, invasive lobular carcinoma may cause:

  • A change in the texture or appearance of the skin over the breast, such as dimpling or thickening
  • A new area of fullness or swelling in the breast
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • An area of thickening in part of the breast

Invasive lobular carcinoma is less likely than other forms of breast cancer to cause a firm or distinct breast lump.

Risk Factors

If you've been diagnosed with LCIS — abnormal cells confined within breast lobules — your risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast is increased. LCIS isn't cancer, but is an indication of increased risk of breast cancer of any type. Most cases of LCIS occur before menopause.

Other risk factors for developing invasive lobular carcinoma include:

  • Inherited genetic cancer syndromes
  • Older age
  • Postmenopausal hormone use