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Breast cancer

Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women, but it can also affect men. Although it is more common in older women, the risk of developing breast cancer can be affected by family history and other lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity.

 Types of breast cancer:

Breast cancer usually originates within the ducts, tissue or lobules of the breast. There are many different types of breast cancer and are referred to as invasive or non-invasive, however, most cancers are invasive.


Rutherford Treatment Options

  • Proton Beam Therapy Available
  • Radiotherapy Available
  • Chemotherapy Available
  • Immunotherapy Available

Invasive breast cancer

As most cancers of the breast are invasive there are different types, with some more common than others. Invasive breast cancer is cancer that has started in the ducts or the lobules of the breast and have spread to surrounding breast tissue. The most common type of invasive breast cancer is ductal, with lobular being the second most common.

Other rare types of invasive cancer are:

  • Paget's disease of the breast 
  • inflammatory breast cancer 

Non-invasive breast cancer

Non-invasive breast cancer is cancer that has not spread outside ducts or lobules to other parts of the breast tissue. These types of cancers are called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Non-invasive breast cancers are not usually life threating and are cancer cells at their earliest stage but do need to be treated, as they may continue to develop.


Symptoms of breast cancer can be different from individual to individual, but some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • A lump in the breast or armpit
  • Change in size or shape of one or both breasts
  • Dimpled skin, like that of an orange peel
  • Nipple pulled inward, or change
  • Discharge from nipples

If you experience any of the above symptoms or feel a change in your breasts that isn’t normal for you, contact your GP who can refer you for further investigations.

If you’d like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Breast cancer diagnosis

A diagnosis for breast cancer is made through various scans, tests and biopsies, which will help confirm details of the size, location and spread of the cancer.

Most common ways breast cancer can be diagnosed:

  • Mammogram
  • Ultrasounds
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Whole-body PET scan (this would show any areas with active cancer in the whole body).
  • Biopsy (to confirm whether a tumour is cancerous and where it has spread in the areas of the breast, underarm and nodes).

Early diagnosis and timely treatment are key elements in successfully treating breast cancer while improving survival rates.

MRI Diagnosis

Treating breast cancer with proton beam therapy

Proton beam therapy can be an effective treatment choice for breast cancer, as it will precisely deliver maximum radiation to the tumour or cancer cells, while delivering minimal radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues and organs that should be avoided, such as the heart and lungs.

The benefits of using proton beam therapy treatment for breast cancer 

Proton beam therapy can help reduce radiation dose to the heart, which is important for breast cancer patients, as it may help avoid radiation-induced heart problems in the future. The dose to the lung can also be reduced, by using a method called deep inspiration breath-hold technique (DIBH). More information about DIBH can be found on our radiotherapy page.

An consultant overview - how proton beam therapy can help patients with breast tumours

Proton beam therapy is highly accurate in targeting a treatment area. It can be used to treat hard-to-reach tumours in the breast, while lowering radiation exposure to surrounding vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Watch the video

An overview of how proton beam therapy works

Proton beam therapy is highly accurate in targeting a treatment area. It can be used to treat hard-to-reach tumours, while lowering radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs.

Watch the video

Other treatment options for breast cancer

There are other treatment options that can be used to treat breast cancer, either before, after or alongside proton beam therapy. Please see other treatment options available at the Rutherford Cancer Centres below:







Further information & support

Being diagnosed with breast cancer and deciding on the best treatment can be daunting, for full details on breast cancer treatment options or to discuss a diagnosis, please contact our enquiries team. Our enquiries team will endeavour to help you assess your treatment options and advise which consultants could be best placed on planning your treatment pathway.

Macmillan Cancer Support offers a wide range of information and support, as well as help with your practical, emotional, and financial needs. All telephone helplines are free and confidential, and interpreting services are also available.

Freephone: 0808 808 00 00

(Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 8.00pm)

Website: www.macmillan.org.uk

Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Our Trusted Healthcare Partners