There is no such thing as routine breast cancer.

At the OSUCCC – James, our breast cancer subspecialists are world-renowned cancer experts who focus solely on breast cancer and who reach across medical disciplines (medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, reconstructive surgeons, pathologists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific breast cancer.

And by offering access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are always available for their treatment and care.

What is Breast Cancer?

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and although it’s the second most diagnosed cancer in women behind skin cancer (more than 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed every year), the five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent for breast cancers detected early thanks to enhanced screening and prevention methods as well as new, individualized and targeted therapies like those discovered at the OSUCCC – James. There are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. today.

Although breast cancer is diagnosed more often in older women, it does occur in younger women and in men (men, however, account for less than one percent of all breast cancers). About 75 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women age 50 and older.

The risk of developing breast cancer also increases with age. While a family history of breast cancer may increase the risk, it’s important to note that only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are the result of inherited genetic factors.

Breast cancers can be found on a mammogram or by a physical examination by either the patient or the doctor. Not all breast cancers are detected by self-exam or mammogram, but regular screenings greatly increase the chances of early detection, successful treatment and cure.

Kinds of Breast Cancer

Breast tumors are most often classified as invasive (has a tendency to spread) or noninvasive:


Noninvasive breast cancer or carcinoma in situ begins and remains in the cells where it began. Noninvasive breast cancer can be confined to the milk ducts, called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or in the lobules, the milk-producing glands of the breast, called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). 



Invasive breast cancer has grown beyond the cells where it began either deeper in to the breast tissue or to other organs. The majority of breast cancers are invasive. Invasive breast cancer can be invasive ductal carcinoma or invasive lobular carcinoma.

Less Prevalent Types of Breast Cancer

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

A rare and aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.

Triple-negative Breast Cancer

A sub-type of invasive ductal carcinoma, and it is diagnosed based upon the lack of three cell receptors: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Those three receptors are known growth factors in most other breast cancers, which helps experts design targeted treatments in those cases. With triple-negative breast cancer, however, the exact cause for tumor growth and spread in this quickly progressing disease is unknown. Chemotherapy and drug combinations designed to target this particular sub-type lead to the most successful treatment, and research experts continue to study the disease.

The OSUCCC – James research scientists are breaking scientific ground with several new studies on triple-negative breast cancer, offering new hope for even more targeted treatments and novel therapies.

Paget Disease of the Nipple

A rare kind of tumor that begins in the ducts, spreads to the nipple and then spreads to the areola (the dark circle around the nipple).

Phyllodes Tumor

A very rare breast tumor that begins in the connective tissue of the breast.

Recurrent Breast Cancer

Cancer that returns (or recurs) after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the breast or in other parts of the body. Even if the new tumor is located in a different location, it is still called breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast cancer symptoms vary from person to person, so it’s important to be familiar with your breasts so you know what “normal” feels and looks like for you. If you notice any changes in your breasts, tell your doctor.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer may include:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
  • Changes in size, shape, skin texture or color of the breast
  • Skin redness
  • Dimpling or puckering
  • Fluid, other than breast milk, from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
  • Scaly, red or swollen skin on the breast, nipple or areola (the dark area of skin that is around the nipple)
  • Nipple pulling to one side or a change in direction

These symptoms do not always mean you have breast cancer. It is important, however, to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, because they can also indicate other health problems.

(source: National Cancer Institute)

Many breast cancers are found by mammograms before any symptoms even appear, and early detection is important to improved outcomes and successful treatment. Just as there is no routine breast cancer, there is also no such thing as a routine mammogram. The expertise of the radiologist is paramount to detecting cancer as early as possible.

Schedule your Mammogram Today (MyChart users)

If you are not a MyChart user, sign up today or call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to schedule a mammogram.

Toward a Cancer-Free World Blog

Just as there's no routine breast cancer, decisions on post-mastectomy reconstruction are unique to each patient. Read More

Schedule your screening mammogram today!

(MyChart users only)


Make an Appointment


Please enter a keyword (i.e. Name, Cancer Type) or choose a Principle Investigator


Please enter a keyword (i.e. Name, Location) or choose a Cancer Type


Find a Location

Search by Building Name, Doctor Name, or ZIP code

The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

What to Expect at The James

Patient and Visitor's Guide

Get information about your stay, amenities, visitor information and more.

Your First Appointment

Know what to bring, how to prepare and what to expect at your first appointment.

Patient Education

Read from a library of resources designed by experts to help you answer questions and make informed decisions.

Contact Us

Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research

Stefanie Spielman

Discover how giving to the Stefanie Spielman Fund supports breast cancer research, clinical trials and new technologies at the OSUCCC – James.

Learn More