LBCA Declares October 15th Global Lobular Breast Cancer Awareness Day

The Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA), a US nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise awareness, increase funding and research for an understudied type of breast cancer has announced its intention, in collaboration with lobular scientists and patient advocates worldwide, to declare October 15th “Global Lobular Breast Cancer Awareness Day” as part of October Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), or lobular breast cancer, is currently 15% of breast cancer diagnoses worldwide. But despite being the second most common type of breast cancer, it receives only 1% of research funding and has no targeted treatments.  

What differentiates lobular breast cancer from the more common non lobular carcinomas is the tumor cell’s lack of the protein E-cadherin, which helps cancer cells form lumps. Instead of clumping together, ILC tumor cells form in thin strings like cobwebs. This makes them extremely hard to detect with mammograms, especially in women with dense breast tissue, or to image elsewhere in the body if metastasized. 

Because the tumors are often not seen in imaging, lobular breast cancer is often only diagnosed once tumors are larger than 2cms, and sometimes when it has already metastasized. Further impeding treatment development, lobular carcinoma patients are often excluded from clinical trials because participation criteria requires that a participant’s tumors can be seen and measured. While studies have confirmed lobular breast cancer is a distinct subtype that behaves differently from other non-lobular carcinomas, not enough is known yet about lobular breast cancer so it is treated the same as other non-lobular tumors.  

LBCA Executive Director Laurie Hutcheson, a 5-year ILC survivor and patient advocate said, “We are declaring this day to raise awareness of lobular breast cancer because more people need to know that breast cancer has types and about lobular breast cancer and its troubling characteristics. We need more people to join our clamor for more research to find better ways to detect ILC and specific ways to treat it, which the hundreds of thousands of individuals with lobular breast cancer worldwide deserve. It is not okay that we have insufficient imaging mechanisms to ensure ILC can be caught early and that it is treated just like the more common but different breast cancer.”  Hutcheson continued, “To improve outcomes, we need better methods to detect ILC and treatments that are ILC-specific in order to eradicate it.”

The October 15th Global Lobular Breast Cancer Awareness Day campaign is built on collaborations among other patient advocates and researchers around the globe including groups in Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.

To learn more and how you and/or your organization can participate sign up here to receive campaign participation information.

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