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Invasive breast cancer

Men and women discussing breast cancer

This page is about invasive breast cancer (no special type). There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Invasive breast cancer (no special type)

Invasive breast cancer NST (no special type) is the most common type of breast cancer. Around 90 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed (90%) are this type. It used to be called invasive ductal carcinoma. An invasive carcinoma started in the cells that line the breast and has spread into the surrounding breast tissue. It may also be called invasive breast cancer NOS (not otherwise specified).

Treatment for invasive breast cancer

The treatments may include

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Or a combination of some of the above

We have information about which treatments are used for the different stages of breast cancer. The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the About breast cancer section.

 

 

What invasive breast cancer (NST) is

Invasive breast cancer (NST) is the most common type of breast cancer. NST stands for No Special Type. Special type means that when the doctor looks at the cells under a microscope the cells have features that class them as a particular type of cancer. Breast cancers that are classed as special type include lobular breast cancer and some rare types of breast cancer.

Around 90 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed (90%) have no special features and are classed as No Special Type. NST is also sometimes called NOS (not otherwise specified). It used to be called ductal carcinoma. These cancers start in the lining cells of the breast.

Diagram showing ductal cancer in situ (DCIS)

Remember that if your doctor has told you that you have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), you don't have invasive breast cancer. You can find information about DCIS in this section.

 

Treatment for invasive breast cancer

For invasive breast cancer, you may have

Click on the links above for detailed information about these treatments. You can also look at the page about which treatment for breast cancer to find out how the treatments are used for different stages of breast cancer. The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. 

To decide on the most appropriate treatment doctors generally take into account 

  • The stage of the cancer
  • How abnormal the cells look under the microscope (the grade)
  • Whether the cancer cells have receptors for particular hormones
  • Whether the cells have receptors for biological therapies
 

More information about invasive breast cancer

You can find information about breast cancer symptoms and breast cancer tests

We have detailed information about breast cancer treatments in this section.

You can phone the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They will be happy to answer any questions that you have.

Our breast cancer organisations page gives details of other people who can provide information about breast cancer and its treatment. Some organisations can put you in touch with a cancer support group. 

If you want to find people to share experiences with online, you could use Cancer Chat, our online forum.

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Updated: 30 July 2014