Types of breast cancer

Pre-invasive breast cancer

When abnormal cells or cancer cells stay inside the milk ducts or milk sacs (lobules) of the breast.
Types of pre-invasive breast cancer are Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

Early breast cancer

Is cancer that is contained in the breast and may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes in the breast and armpit.

Locally advanced breast cancer

When the cancer has spread to one or more of, the lymph nodes or other areas near the breast, or to tissues around the breast such as the skin, muscles or ribs, but there is no sign that it has spread to other parts of the body.

  • Breast Cancer Network of Australia (BCNA) has produced the “My Journey Kit” - a comprehensive resource kit for women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The Kit consists of three main elements. The My Journey Information Guide, the My Journey Personal Record for recording contact details, personal information, notes and important dates, a place to store test results and a range of brochures including The Beacon, a free quarterly publication of BCNA. For more information, visit www.bcna.org.au.
Paget’s disease

A rare form of breast cancer that begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola (the area around the nipple). This type of breast cancer is one reason why we emphasize the importance of looking for breast changes as well as feeling for them.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

A rare and rapidly growing type of breast cancer that causes the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast to become blocked, causing the breast to look swollen and red, or "inflamed". It accounts for about 1 -2 % of the total number of women and men diagnosed with breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer

The terms metastatic, secondary, Stage IV and advanced are often used interchangeably. Secondary breast cancer is the term used to describe cancer that has spread from the original site in the breast to other organs or tissues in the body. The cancer may have spread to lymph nodes (not near the breast), the brain, liver, lungs or bones. For some women secondary breast cancer may be their first diagnosis of breast cancer. Although currently treatment for metastatic breast cancer is unable to get rid of the cancer completely, treatment can improve quality of life by reducing symptoms and controlling the spread of the cancer.

  • Breast Cancer Network of Australia (BCNA)  has produced an excellent resource for women with secondary breast cancer called "The Hope & Hurdles Pack". The Pack contains a number of individual items; booklets, brochures, magazines and CDs that offer information, support and hope for women and their families.
  • BCNA also distribute The Inside Story as a supplement to The Beacon, targeted specifically for people experiencing secondary cancer. It includes personal stories, support, information and resources. For more information, visit www.bcna.org.au.
  • The Advanced Breast Cancer Group have produced a free DVD called 'You Are Not Alone; a film about living with secondary breast cancer.' It is a story about the experience of three women living with secondary breast cancer. They talk about what it was like when they were first diagnosed with this life threatening illness, and their journey into unchartered territory as they learned to cope, with the support of their family, friends and other women in a professionally led support group.Click here to find out how to request your free copy.
  • Breast Cancer Care WA has a support group specifically for women affected by Metastatic (also referred to as Advanced, Secondary or Stage IV) Breast Cancer. For information about the meeting place and times, please contact us on 9324 3703 of by emailing info@breastcancer.org.au.

Palliative care improves the quality of life for patients and their families facing chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Accessing palliative care services to help with symptom management during the progression of the disease is becoming more popular. This is important because it can prevent or relieve suffering with early identification, assessment and treatment of symptoms such as physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

Palliative care may be considered early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy and any other investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications. 

For more information on palliative care go to: