Millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer yearly. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), more than 2.3 million women across the globe were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. In fact, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide.

Breast cancer statistics can give the impression that the millions of women diagnosed with the disease are each fighting the same battle, but breast cancer is something of an umbrella term. “There are various types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer,” explains Jason Pericak, MD, of Great Lakes Medical Imaging. Dr. Pericak offers the following information to help women and their families gain a greater understanding of this disease:

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS is a non-invasive cancer that is diagnosed when abnormal cells are found in the lining of the breast milk duct. Dr. Pericak says that DCIS is a highly treatable cancer because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any surrounding breast tissue. The American Cancer Society (ACS) notes that roughly 20 percent of new breast cancer cases are instances of DCIS.

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). IDC is the most common type of breast cancer. The BCRF reports that between 70 and 80 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses are instances of IDC. An IDC diagnosis means that cancer began growing in the milk ducts but has since spread into other parts of the breast tissue. This is why IDC is characterized as “invasive.” Though IDC can affect people of any age, including men, the majority of IDC cases are in women ages 55 and older.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC as an aggressive and fast-growing, and rare breast cancer. Data from the ACS indicates that only about one percent of all breast cancers in the United States are inflammatory breast cancers. Many breast cancers begin with the formation of a lump, but IBC usually begins with reddening and swelling of the breast, and symptoms can worsen considerably within days or even hours. This underscores the importance of seeking prompt treatment should any symptoms present themselves.

Metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer may be referred to as stage IV breast cancer. When a woman is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it means the cancer has spread into other parts of the body, usually the lungs, liver, bones, or brain. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has spread. For example, if the cancer has spread to the lungs, women may experience a chronic cough, or be unable to get a full breath.

These cancers listed above are not the only types. A more extensive breakdown of the various types of breast cancer can be found at

Women ages 40 to 44 can choose to begin breast cancer screening. Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms yearly. Women 55 and older should be screened every two years, or continue yearly screening. Call 716-836-4646 or visit and get screened!