The different types of breast cancers as 'Dear Deidre' Sanders shares diagnosis

Deidre Sanders announced she has breast cancer. (Getty Images)
What type of breast cancer does Deidre Sanders have and what others are there? (Getty Images)

With Deidre Sanders, 77, sharing the news she has a very specific form of breast cancer, it has helped to raise awareness that there are several different types we might want to know more about.

Speaking on Tuesday's episode of This Morning, the agony aunt revealed she has "high grade ductal carcinoma in situ" after missing a routine mammogram.

Sanders, most famous for being The Sun's 'Dear Deidre' columnist, is now due to have surgery to remove the carcinoma (a type of cancer) on Saturday.

But what exactly is the type of breast cancer she has, and what others are there?

Breast cancer types

Ductal carcinoma in situ, pain and inflammation in female breast medical poster. Medical exam and laboratory research concept. Nipple, lobule, duct channel in woman silhouette flat vector illustration
Ductal carcinoma in situ, pain and inflammation in female breast, as shown in poster form. (Getty Images)

There are a number of different types of breast cancer, which can develop in different parts of the breast, with some more common than others.

According to the NHS, breast cancer is typically divided into either:

Non-invasive breast cancer ('carcinoma in situ')

This is found in the ducts of the breast, known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and has not yet spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts themselves. Non-invasive breast cancer is often found during a mammogram and rarely shows a lump.

Invasive breast cancer

This is where the cancer cells have spread through the lining of the ducts around the breast tissue, and is the most common type of breast cancer.

Also speaking on ITV's This Morning, Dr Nighat helped to explain what Sanders has, the first type, in more detail. "Ductal carcinoma situ is an early form of breast cancer, and cancer cells are basically cells that are overgrowing or they are growing erratically. The breast is made up of lobules, and they are basically the milk glands, and then they have ducts as well, they are the tubes that take the milk to the nipple."

She added, "What Deidre has is basically a carcinoma in situ that means it's in place in one of those ducts and then it is graded into different stages".

Dr Nighat explained there's 'mild' that means that while there's cells that look abnormal, the rest of the cells within that look like normal breast cells, 'intermediate' that means cells that look slightly abnormal but they're growing at a faster rate than one would like, and then 'high-grade' or 'invasive' ductal cell carcinoma that shows there are less normal breast cells and more abnormal-looking ones but they're growing faster.

"But this is early, and if caught early, and the treatment is early, then the prognosis, or cure, is better," she said of Sanders' 'high-grade' type.

Rare breast cancer types

Woman speaking to doctor about breast cancer. (Getty Images)
Don't delay in speaking to your doctor about systems, attending or requesting mammograms as early diagnosis is key. (Getty Images)

Invasive (and pre-invasive) lobular breast cancer is another less common type, which is when the cancer has started in the cells that line the lobules (milk-producing glands) and has spread into surrounding breast tissue.

Inflammatory breast cancer is when the cancer cells block the smallest lymph channels (part of the lymphatic system) in the breast, which are needed to drain excess tissue fluid away from the body tissues and fluids. When they are blocked, they can't function properly, and this causes skin to become red and inflamed.

Paget's disease of the breast, or nipple, is a sign there could be breast cancer in the tissue behind the nipple, which causes eczema-like symptoms to the skin of the nipple and area of darker skin surrounding it.

If breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, which usually happens through the blood or the axillary lymph nodes (small lymphatic glands that filter bacteria and cells from the mammary gland), this is known as secondary, or metastatic.

For more information visit the NHS website and Cancer Research UK website on breast cancer types.

Or see our useful guide on how to check for breast cancer symptoms and detect the condition early.

Watch: Anxious about mammograms? This device may help you self-check for breast cancer