What are the Different Types of Breast Tumors?

L. Hepfer

Even though there are several different types of breast tumors, they are all placed under two categories. They are either benign breast tumors, meaning they are noncancerous and not life-threatening, or malignant breast tumors, meaning they are cancerous. The many different types of breast tumors that are discovered are always either benign or malignant.

Fibroadenomas is a type of benign breast tumor.
Fibroadenomas is a type of benign breast tumor.

When a lump is found in the breast, a biopsy is often performed to detect any cancer that may need treated. The majority of lumps found in the breast end up being benign tumors and usually require no further treatment. Occasionally they require surgical removal in order for the breast to function normally.

Breast cancer occurs more often than usual in some families due to their genetic make-up.
Breast cancer occurs more often than usual in some families due to their genetic make-up.

There are three different types of breast tumors that are benign. The most common noncancerous breast lumps found inside the breast are called fibrocystic lumps. These lumps can appear as small cyst-like bumps and can be painful. When hormones are released from the ovaries during ovulation, an overreaction of the mammary glands or fibrous breast tissue can create these small lumps. Consuming products with caffeine can stimulate the growth of fibrocystic lumps.

Papillomas are a benign breast tumors that appear inside the mammary ducts close to the nipple.
Papillomas are a benign breast tumors that appear inside the mammary ducts close to the nipple.

Another type of a benign breast tumor is called fibroadenomas. These lumps are solid but can be rolled around inside the breast when pressed on by the fingers. They generally occur in younger women under the age of 25 and do not feel tender when pushed.

Breast cancer has been divided into four different types of breast tumors.
Breast cancer has been divided into four different types of breast tumors.

Papillomas are the third type of benign breast tumor. These tumors appear inside the mammary ducts close to the nipple. They tend to remain very small in size and can cause a discharge to occur from the nipple that may appear clear or bloody.

Malignant breast tumors are life-threatening. If a cancerous tumor is not detected in the breast through routine breast examinations, the tumor continues to grow. The malignant tumor will then spread into the lymph nodes and bloodstream, dropping the chance of a woman's survival significantly.

Breast cancer has been divided into four different types of breast tumors. These four different types are called luminal A, luminal B, HER2 type and basal type. These cancers have been named because of their differences in appearance and molecular features.

Luminal A and luminal B type tumors tend to grow slowly. Luminal A cancer has a better prognosis than luminal B because the luminal B type grows slightly faster. Both of these type of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive.

While the HER2 type of breast cancer grows quickly and shows extra HER2 genes, undergoing a series of targeted treatments can be quite successful. Basal type breast cancer grows the fastest of any other type and has the worst prognosis. Different tests can be performed to determine which type of cancer has been found, the aggressiveness of that particular cancer, and which treatment may be the best option with the best prognosis.

While some breast tumors are benign, others require surgical removal.
While some breast tumors are benign, others require surgical removal.

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Discussion Comments


I'm really happy I didn't have cancer, after two surgical removals of non-cancerous lumps from my breast.


I touched my left breast while lying down on the bed and noticed something that is a little hard and painful. I am so scared. Please help because I have seen cancer kill. I need advice.


@anon149882: I understand you being an emotional wreck, trust me. I'm 18 and when I was 16 I found out I had a tumor in my right breast. Going to the doctor and seeing their reactions was terrifying, mostly because I was apparently too young to have any type of tumor. I went through biopsy and believe me, that one or two weeks that it takes to get the results back are horrible! Thankfully, I had a benign tumor.

All they had to do was remove it with, i must say, a very painful surgery. But about three or four months later, it grew back so I had surgery again. By the time of my second tumor I was 17.

I haven't had any other appointments with my doctor since I am in college, but I feel fine.

Hope this calms you down a bit. It's scary, but whatever the outcome is, you'll get through it and I'm sure your family and friends will be there for you, just like mine were.


@alen84basc: I understand completely. I am 24 years old and have a five year old daughter and four year old son. I found a lump in my right breast a couple months ago. I let it go for a while, as the doctor suggested it was a cyst due to my period.

After a while, I noticed that the lump had grown so much that I could actually see the lump through the skin. So I immediately went to the doctor. They sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound. I am now scheduled to see a breast surgeon this week to determine how she wants to go about testing the 'tumor' to see if it is benign or malignant. I am now an emotional wreck.

All I can think about is what will happen to my children if I have cancer! I know that I should stay positive, but I have lost so many family members to cancer, that I am terrified!

My wonderful boyfriend, however, is trying to remain positive. He even bought me a multivitamin that supports breast and bone health! It is still hard to not be freaked out though! Just keep thinking positive, and keep my babies in your prayers please! -Jmama


i have some big and some small tumors in both of my breasts with pain on pressing. Are they cancer tumors or not? Please tell me.


Reading this article gives me a whole new respect for my doctor. I always kind of thought they just poked around and felt your breasts and sent you on your way.

But now that I learn about all these different types of breast cancer, I have a new respect for them. I could never keep all of that straight, I still remember when I was in high school failing a question about the three types of skin cancer!

So I guess it was better for everyone that I got into accounting instead -- something about numbers I can do, but I am just absolutely hopeless about anatomy, even though you would think I could remember this, because my sister is an OB/GYN.


Do you know, I had never really thought about there being different types of breast cancer? I mean, it completely makes sense, since there are different skin cancer types and different types of brain tumors and everything, but for some reason I just always thought of breast cancer as one kind.

And I suppose that there's even more than you mentioned, what with breast metastasis and all.

This may be a stupid question, but is there any way to tell what kind of cancer it is without a biopsy? I mean, can the doctor ever tell just by the mammogram or ultrasound, or do they have to take a sample?

Forgive my ignorance on this, I honestly just never gave breast cancer that much thought before.


I have always been so completely paranoid about getting breast cancer since both my mom and my grandmother had it. Every time I feel anything that could be even vaguely construed as a lump I get really freaked out.

It's just so out of control, you know? I mean, the minute you find that lump in your breast everything changes. I mean, the same is true for all the types of brain tumors and lung tumors and everything, but with a breast cancer, you can actually feel that.

I guess that's always made breast cancer that much more real to me than all the other different types of cancer.

What about you all, are you the same way?

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