​Lobular Carcinoma


Lobular carcinoma is a type of breast cancer that develops in the lobules (milk producing glands) of the breast. It can occur in either of the two forms:

  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): not a cancer in itself, lobular carcinoma in situ is the development of abnormal cells in the milk glands of your breast and provides an early signal that you may be at risk of developing breast cancer

  • Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC): the second most common form of breast cancer, this develops in the milk glands of the breasts and spreads out to other parts of the body


There is no known reason for the development of lobular carcinoma. However, the following risk factors increase its likelihood:

  • Family history of breast cancer

  • If you are above 40 years old

  • If you have undergone hormone replacement therapy for menopause

There are no symptoms for lobular carcinoma in situ and it also does not show up on a mammogram. The presence of lobular carcinoma in situ is usually detected incidentally in cases where a breast biopsy is being performed for other reasons.

On the other hand, as invasive lobular carcinoma develops further, you may see the following signs and symptoms:

  • Thickening in part of the breast

  • Swelling of the breast

  • Change in the skin of the breast

  • An inverted nipple

Consult your doctor if you feel any change in your breast. Alternatively, you can consult the qualified staff of the Oncology Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

To seek medical advice from a specialist, you can request an appointment at the Breast Clinic.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

As there are no direct indications of lobular carcinoma in situ, its diagnosis is incidental as a result of biopsy of your breast for other factors. For invasive lobular carcinoma, scans such as an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), mammogram or ultrasound may be done. Alternatively, tissue from your breast may be removed to detect for cancerous cells.

Detection of lobular carcinoma in situ will present you with a number of options for treatment:

  • Observation: first and foremost, your doctor may recommend monitoring and observation over a specified period of time to detect for signs of breast cancer.

  • Chemoprevention: this involves a medication program by which the risk of developing cancer is mitigated.

  • Surgery: this removes the tissues where lobular carcinoma in situ is present and is usually recommended for females who have a family history of breast cancer.

For invasive lobular carcinoma, specific procedures may be used to treat for it:

  • Lumpectomy - this involves removal of the affected tissue from your breast along with a certain portion of healthy tissue. Subsequently radiation therapy is also performed to ensure that the tumour does not reoccur.

  • Mastectomy - another form of surgery, this removes not only the affected tissue and some normal tissue around it, but also the skin, areola, nipple and the underarm lymph nodes. Due to the success of lumpectomy, this procedure is being performed less and less.

  • Chemotherapy – this involves administering drugs, either taken orally in the form of pills or injected directly into your bloodstream, with aim to destroy cancerous cells.

  • Hormonal therapy – this form of treatment is taken in the form of an oral pill which is either a form of SORM (Selective Oestrogen Receptor Modulator) or an AI (Aromatase Inhibitor). These help to block the ability of your oestrogen to reach cancerous cells which thus inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells in your body.

  • Radiation – this form of treatment used powerful energy sources, such as X-rays, in order to shrink large tumours prior to surgery, to eliminate cancer cells that may still remain following surgery, or in order to reduce the symptoms of cancer. This is usually used on patients who have undergone a lumpectomy surgery.

  • Hormonal therapy - this form of treatment is taken in the form of an oral pill which is either a form of selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) or an aromatase inhibitor (AI). These help to block the ability of your oestrogen to reach cancerous cells which thus inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells in your body.

  • Biologic targeted therapy – biologic targeted therapy or targeted therapy are drugs which are taken in order to alter the behaviour of breast cancer cells.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.



​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.