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Lobular Breast Cancer

Feeling ready to move forward can be hard after hearing you may have lobular breast cancer. Chances are, you have a lot running through your mind.

Why me? Will I be OK? Can I do this? But when you connect with healthcare providers who focus on you and your needs, moving forward with lobular breast cancer treatment can be a little easier.

Cleveland Clinic’s expert breast cancer team understands that you’re probably having all sorts of emotions. We’re here with the support and answers you need — from the moment you pick up the phone to make your first appointment. And we believe that, yes, you can do this. And you’ll have a strong team on your side every step of the way.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Lobular Breast Cancer Care?

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Demonstrated expertise:

You can count on us for the highest level of care. We’re one of the largest, most comprehensive breast cancer programs in the U.S. We’re accredited by the American College of Surgeons. And the National Cancer Institute has designated us as one of 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation. Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

Cleveland Clinic’s research into the genetic and molecular science behind breast cancer focuses on the goal of permanent “remission” (being cancer-free) for each patient. To do this, it’s important to understand how and why people develop breast cancer. Our research moves us closer to these answers each day.

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Minimally invasive options:

Our healthcare providers have helped pioneer improved surgery for breast cancer. We continue to focus on offering less invasive treatments whenever possible. And if you need surgery as part of your treatment plan, you may be able to have reconstruction at the same time.

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Specialized equipment:

Diagnosing lobular breast cancer takes more than a mammogram. Our team uses leading-edge MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) equipment and the newest approaches. This helps us make the most accurate diagnosis and get you started on your personalized treatment plan.

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Virtual visits:

Treatment can be tiring, and sometimes, you might just want to stay home instead of going to see your provider in person. Cleveland Clinic’s virtual visits let you get the same great care but from the comfort of your sofa or favorite chair for some appointments. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, computer or tablet.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Lobular Breast Cancer at Cleveland Clinic

Lobular breast cancer (invasive lobular carcinoma) is the second most common type of breast cancer. And it can be tricky to find. It doesn’t always cause a lump or mass in your breast. It also doesn’t always show up in traditional breast screening tests, like a mammogram or an ultrasound.

Instead, you might notice changes in your breast. A hardened or thickened area. A nipple that’s turned inward toward your breast (inverted). Dimpled, dented or puckered breast skin. Changes that make you stop and wonder what’s going on.

Accurately diagnosing this type of breast cancer is the first step in creating an effective treatment plan. That’s why it’s important you choose healthcare providers who have a lot of experience in treating lobular breast cancer and use the latest testing tools to pinpoint your diagnosis.

What to expect at your first visit

When you come for your first visit, you’ll meet with our team of breast cancer specialists. We’ll want to know a few important things — like when you first noticed something didn’t seem right, what symptoms you’re having and how they’re affecting your life.

Your story helps us personalize treatment well beyond what test results and a physical exam can do. By understanding who you are and how lobular breast cancer is affecting you every day, we can make sure your treatment plan is truly unique to you.

That said, you’ll also have a physical exam so we can check out your overall health and breasts. And we’ll order some tests to further help us confirm a diagnosis.

Imaging tests for lobular breast cancer

The most effective test to find lobular breast cancer is often magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breasts. MRI uses radio waves, magnets and a special dye injected into your bloodstream to take detailed pictures inside your body. We’ll use MRI in combination with other breast imaging — like mammogram, which uses a low-dose X-ray to find anything unusual in your breast tissue, and ultrasound, which uses sound waves to take pictures of your breast tissue.

Lobular breast cancer biopsy

We also may order a biopsy to confirm cancer cells in your breasts. Our team takes a small sample of breast tissue and sends it to our lab. There, our expert pathologists, who specialize in identifying cancer cells, look at the tissue to see if they can spot cancer cells.

If they do, we can confirm your diagnosis and stage your cancer. This helps us make sure you get the most personalized and effective treatment plan.

Second Opinions for Lobular Breast Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can be a real shock. You might be feeling anxious, worried and overwhelmed. So, it’s important you’re confident that you’ve chosen the right care team — one that listens to your concerns, answers your questions and gives you the best possible care. That’s why we encourage second opinions.

Our highly skilled healthcare providers are here for you. They’ll take the time to answer questions, explain treatment options and offer their expertise. And because we know that cancer doesn’t wait, we always try to schedule your appointment with us as soon as possible. A second opinion can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re in the most capable, compassionate hands.

Meet Our Lobular Breast Cancer Team

Getting lobular breast cancer treatment at Cleveland Clinic means you’ll work with a skilled and compassionate team of healthcare providers from many different specialties. These experts will work closely together to offer you the most personalized care and the best possible result. Your team could include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Lobular Breast Cancer at Cleveland Clinic

Your medical history, test results and goals help guide your personalized care plan, which could include one or a combination of treatments.


Breast cancer surgery is often the first treatment for lobular breast cancer. There are two kinds of surgery. Your care team helps you decide which choice is right for you:

  • Lumpectomy removes a smaller portion of breast tissue at and around the cancerous area.
  • Mastectomy removes the entire breast.

During surgery, we’ll also check to see whether the cancer has spread to surrounding tissue or lymph nodes. If it has, we’ll remove those areas, too.

You may also choose to have breast reconstruction. Our breast and plastic surgeons work closely together, making it possible for you to have a mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. Or you may choose to have separate procedures. Your feelings and goals guide these decisions.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy focuses rays of high-energy radiation on cancerous tissue in your breast. It can destroy cancer cells remaining after surgery.

Systemic treatments

Your team may also recommend systemic treatments for cancer. These drugs circulate through your blood and kill cancer cells throughout your entire body.

We offer every possible systemic breast cancer treatment. And our care team makes recommendations based on your needs and health. Systemic treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy: We do this before surgery to shrink a tumor or after to kill remaining cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: We use this to reduce certain hormones that can help breast cancer cells grow. This is also called anti-estrogen therapy, anti-hormone therapy or endocrine therapy.
  • Targeted therapy: This targets certain cancer cell characteristics and destroys the ones that have those. Unlike chemotherapy, it doesn’t damage all healthy cells in the process of killing cancer cells.

Support for lobular breast cancer

Our oncology nurses are here to guide you and your family throughout your breast cancer treatment and recovery. This includes helping you manage any treatment side effects. Our social workers can help you with logistics, like getting to treatment appointments and finding financial assistance.

Cleveland Clinic offers many additional services and support to get you through this challenging time, like:

  • 4th Angel Mentoring Program.
  • Art and music therapy.
  • Cancer answer line (216.444.7923 or toll-free 866.223.8100).
  • Counseling services.
  • Spa treatments.
  • Spiritual care.
  • Support groups.
  • Wig boutique.

Taking the Next Step

Facing a cancer diagnosis can be stressful and something you may wish you didn’t have to think about. But it’s important you do. While lobular breast cancer usually grows slowly, it can still spread if left untreated. So, the faster you move toward confirming you have it and starting treatment — the better chance you have for good results. Cleveland Clinic is here to help you every step of the way.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s lobular breast cancer experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s lobular breast cancer experts is easy. We’ll help you get the care you need.

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Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.

At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

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