Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), which is also known as infiltrating lobular carcinoma, is the second most common form of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the United States, representing 10-15 percent of diagnosed cases. Invasive breast cancers are aggressive and fast spreading. ILC follows a growth pattern looks like spreading tree branches.
Treatment for ILC typically includes either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, depending on the size of the tumor. A lumpectomy surgically removes the tumor from within the breast, and a mastectomy removes the entire breast including the areola and nipple.
If you have a diagnosis of ILC, it is important to choose your surgeon carefully. Any successful breast cancer surgery includes removing not only the cancerous tissue itself, but a good amount of healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. The branch-like growth pattern of ILC makes this difficult. To make sure your surgical procedure removes all of your cancer, your surgeon must remove the tissue all around the tumor, including any growth that may not be evident on imaging. Sometimes it is necessary to have additional surgery to take out more affected tissue.
Your doctor may also recommend any of the following additional treatments:
• Chemotherapy - These are drugs your doctor administers either before or after surgery to help treat your cancer.
• Radiation - Radiation uses high-energy rays (such as X-rays) to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. Most commonly, doctors use radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that remain in the breast, chest wall or underarm area after surgery.
• Hormonal therapy - Receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone can affect breast cancer cell growth. Hormonal therapy helps block the ability of estrogen from reaching a breast cancer cell. These drugs help reduce the risk of breast cancer recurring or possibly continuing to grow.
• Biologic targeted therapy - Biologic targeted therapy is a category of drugs that may be able to change the behavior of the breast cancer cell to help stem the spread of your cancer.