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Signs and Symptoms of ILC

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At first, invasive lobular carcinoma may not cause any symptoms. Sometimes, an abnormal area turns up on a screening mammogram (X-ray of the breast), which leads to further testing. Invasive lobular carcinomas tend to be more difficult to see on mammograms than invasive ductal carcinomas. That’s because instead of forming a lump, the cancer cells more typically spread to the surrounding connective tissue (stroma) in a line formation.

In other cases, the first sign of ILC is a thickening or hardening in the breast that can be felt, rather than a distinct lump. Other possible symptoms include an area of fullness or swelling, a change in the texture of the skin, or the nipple turning inward.

According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a first sign of breast cancer, including invasive lobular carcinoma:

  • swelling of all or part of the breast
  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • breast pain
  • nipple pain
  • redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the underarm area

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