Types of breast cancer in men

Types of breast cancer

There are several different types of breast cancer. They are usually named after where the cancer cells are found. Knowing the type of cancer helps the doctors decide on the best treatment for you.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

This is the earliest form of breast cancer. In DCIS, cancer cells are in the ducts of the breast, but they haven’t spread into the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is not common in men; only 5% of breast cancers in men are DCIS. We have more information about DCIS, which you may find helpful.

Invasive breast cancer

If cancer cells have spread outside the lining of the ducts or lobules into surrounding breast tissue, it’s called invasive breast cancer. There are different types of invasive breast cancer:

  • Invasive ductal breast cancer – this is the most common type of breast cancer and accounts for more than 9 out of every 10 breast cancers in men (over 90%). Because cells looked at under the microscope have no common pattern, doctors sometimes call it ‘breast cancer of no special type’.
  • Invasive lobular breast cancer – this develops from the cells that line the lobes of the breast and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose on a mammogram. Men rarely get lobular breast cancer because there are few, if any, lobules in men’s breasts.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer – this is an uncommon type of breast cancer. It happens when cancer cells grow along and block the tiny channels (lymph vessels) in the skin of the breast. The lymph vessels and the breast then become inflamed and swollen, which is how the condition gets its name. Inflammatory breast cancer is very rare in men.

We have more information about inflammatory breast cancer, which you may find helpful.

Other rare types of breast cancer include:

For more information about any of these rare types of breast cancer, call our cancer support specialists.

Back to Understanding breast cancer in men

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

Men's breasts

Men have a small amount of breast tissue where breast cancer can develop, but this is rare.

How is it treated?

There are five main types of cancer treatment. You may receive one, or a combination of treatments, depending on your cancer type.