Regarding breast cancer diagnoses, almost 80% of cases involve invasive ductal carcinoma. IDC – Invasive (infiltrating) ductal carcinoma begins in a milk passage or duct and breaks through the wall of the duct. Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer generally occurs when the cancer cell invades the basement membrane of the breast, penetrating the underlying supportive tissue. From there, the cells can also extend to other parts of the body.
In IDC, fibrous tissue within the breast is formed, showing a stellate structure on a mammogram. And when this structure becomes large enough to be felt on palpation, a lump of this origin is quite firm in relation to the surrounding breast tissue. Please note prompt treatment is ideal for dealing with this serious disease.
Things You Must Know About IDC:
|Type of Cancer||Risk||Who it can affect||When to take treatment||Choosing the right treatment|
|Invasive Ductal Carcinoma||A person is at more risk of developing IDC as they age. As per the ACS (American Cancer Society), most of these cancer patients are 55 and above.||While this cancer is more common in women, IDC can even occur among men. Consulting a doctor must be your first step in such a situation.
Quick treatment is recommended for this cancer.
|Quick treatment is recommended for this cancer. With time, it can spread to blood vessels or lymph nodes throughout the person’s body.||The doctors must know the tumor’s characteristics, like whether cells are exposed to particular hormones. Knowing this will help them to decide on a suitable treatment approach.|
What Is Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer?
It is a cancer type in which abnormal growth of the cells occurs in the lining of the milk ducts. Breast ducts are the passageways for the milk to flow from the milk glands (lobule) to the nipple.
And when this happens, the cancer cells can break into the lymph nodes/bloodstream and extend to other body parts. Sometimes, this cancer is called NOS – Breast cancer, not otherwise specified.
Fig1: Here is the image showing the most common type of breast cancer – invasive breast cancer
What Are Various Types Of IDC?
Sometimes there are cases when people are diagnosed with a subtype of IDC. Some rare cases of IDC can be:
1. Medullary Carcinoma
The name of this tumor cell comes from a brain part called the medulla. Although it may look hideous upon inspection through a microscope, the growing rate of the tumor is quite slow. This tumor is quite common among women between their 40s and early 50s.
2. Mucinous (Or Colloid) Carcinoma
This tumor type is more common in women in their early and late 60s. It is a mild, aggressive tumor in which a mucin puddle surrounds the cells of cancer.
3. Papillary Carcinoma
It is a rare type of IDC. The tumor consists of fingers that grow and reach close to the body’s healthy cells. The growing rate of this abnormal tumor is quite fast. Generally, individuals after menopause develop this tumor.
4. Tubular Carcinoma
Slow growth and less aggressive type of tumor with quite small tube shapes. Women in their early 50s are commonly diagnosed with this cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer
IDC can also be presented as a lump on a breast exam, like all other breast cancers. Though the symptoms are visible at early stages, so you can guess it.
Some of the common Signs of Breast Cancer Invasive Ductal Carcinoma are given below:
- Lump found in the breast.
- You started noticing swelling or some changes in the shape of the breast.
- The skin of the breast started getting red.
- Thickening of the skin of the breast.
- The breast skin or the nipple gets dimpled or retracted.
- The nipple has started discharging (other than the breast milk).
- Ulceration or scaly/flaky skin on the nipple or skin of the breast. (It can be a sign of Paget’s disease). Paget’s disease is a different kind of cancer that comes along with IDC.
- Found changes in the nipple or breast’s appearance. Please note these changes can be different from those of normal monthly changes.
In case there are any visible signs of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with the doctor immediately. Signs can be different or unusual looks and feel of your breasts.
Fig2: Showing the signs and symptoms of IDC.
What Are The Different Stages Of IDC?
A stage tells how severe the cancer is in a person’s body. The advancement of this cancer depends on its size, location, and spread. Ductal carcinoma has the following five stages:
- Stage 0: The cancer is only present near the person’s milk ducts. Such a stage is commonly called non-invasive ductal carcinoma.
- Stage 1: Cancer has started spreading outside the person’s milk ducts near breast tissue. However, it hasn’t reached the lymph nodes of the person.
- Stage 2: For this stage, either the tumor is of small size and has spread among lymph nodes. Or, the tumor is on the big side; however, it isn’t close to lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: Cancer has started spreading in more of the person’s lymph, i.e., above three. It also has started causing inflammation in your breast skin, but still limited to other body areas.
- Stage 4: Cancer has started spreading to other body parts, such as bones, brain, lungs, chest wall, liver, or far lymph nodes.
Risk Factors And Causes Of IDC
The exact causes of IDC are still unknown. Many researchers are focused on finding a solution to reduce the risk of developing this cancer. While you can reduce some risk factors, there are a few that you can’t.
Some risk factors that are related to this cancer include:
- Use of Alcohol
- Radiation contact to the chest.
- Late menopause
- Early menstrual periods
- Bearing children late or not being pregnant.
For almost 5 to 10 percent of IDC cases, hereditary has been one of the major factors.
Identifying And Diagnosing Breast Cancer Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
IDC usually doesn’t show any typical breast cancer symptoms at an early stage; you may find some positive signs – a new lump or unusual changes in your breast.
Note: The size and extent of the initial tumor are responsible for determining the stage of breast cancer.
Diagnosing invasive ductal cancer always involves a combination of several procedures. Healthcare providers carry out a physical examination to ensure the disease. A wide range of tests helps doctors identify and diagnose the disease.
Doctors manually examine the breast to detect lumps and other changes. And if lumps are found, they carry out other tests to rule out IDC.
This improved method is similar to that of a regular mammogram; however, considered better than conventional mammography. Digital Mammography techniques can detect cancer in younger patients and persons with dense breast tissue. Computer-aided systems detect masses, calcifications, and other abnormalities associated with cancer.
In the breast, ultrasound test sound waves are used to examine the breast tissue and gauge blood flow. Since no radiation is used in this process, it is ideal for examining pregnant patients.
In MRI, a computer, a large magnet, and radio waves detect small breast lesions. This treatment is useful for patients with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Biopsy tests can also confirm the presence of cancer and reveal its characteristics. A sample of breast tissue is taken from a suspicious area in the breast biopsy process. It is then sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination. A pathologist will then identify the signs of diseases.
Once cancer gets detected in the patient, the next step is staging. This test determines how far the cancer cells have spread.
Doctors get to find the size of the tumor, determining whether it has entered the bloodstream or not.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer: Treatment & Prevention
Most breast cancers are of duct types. They occur in the tube that moves milk from the breast to the nipple. So, consult a doctor immediately if you notice a lump or changes in your breast.
Treatment of this breast cancer depends on the size and locations of the cancer cells. Apart from this, the features and staging of the cancer cells are also taken into account.
Doctors employ several approaches to treat breast cancer while considering your healing capacity and preferences.
Fig 3: Consult a doctor for breast cancer treatments.
A doctor will examine your current situation and suggest a plan that comes with one or more of the treatments below. Many comprehensive centers like Mayo Clinic, University Cancer Centers, Johns Hopkins Hospital, etc., offer proper treatment to patients. Treatment depends on the following factors of the tumor:
- Hormone receptor status
- HER2 status.
- Your health conditions
Treatment 1: Surgery For IDC
Surgery Practitioners offer a wide range of options to patients. Surgery for IDC most often includes one of the procedures from these two: Lumpectomy and Mastectomy.
- In Lumpectomy treatment, some part of the breast is removed. This treatment is known as breast-conserving surgery and is often followed by radiation treatments. The purpose is to treat any remaining cancer cells.
- Mastectomy treatment includes the removal of the breast. This treatment is recommended for patients having multiple and very large ductal tumors.
Treatment 2: Non-Surgical Treatment For Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer
Find below various types of treatment that fall under the non-Surgical category.
- Radiation: When lumpectomy is followed by radiation, the treatment proves quite effective in treating IDC. Radiation treatment is given if the patient is undergoing a lumpectomy.
- Chemotherapy: Depending on the features of the tumor cells, genes, and proteins, Chemotherapy is employed by the doctor. Before planning for the Chemotherapy treatment type, doctors first learn about the characteristics of cancer cells.
- Hormone Therapy: When positive hormone receptors are found in breast cancers, cancer gets treated with estrogen or progesterone. And then, doctors recommend patients go through pill-form medications for several years.
- Targeted or Biologic Therapy (Immunotherapy): Targeted therapy uses small molecule drugs or antibodies to activate the body’s immune system. This gives the immune system the ability to fight invasive ductal cancer cells.
Side Effects Of The Treatment
Side effects always come with cancer treatment. Each person receives individual experience based on the stage location of the tumor and the treatment they undergo. Some of the side effects they are supposed to face are:
- Fatigue and fever.
- Mouth sores or mood swings.
- Changes in their weight.
- Aches in their muscles.
- Loss of hair.
- Itching or other skin reactions.
How Much Time Is Needed To Recover From IDC Treatment?
People who choose surgery over non-surgical methods to treat IDC can take up to two to four weeks to recover from the treatment. This recovery time can increase for people who experience breast reconstruction and lymph node removal.
The recovery time can be weeks or months for non-surgical methods such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. However, this time will depend on the tumor stage and its location inside the body.
How To Reduce The Risk For IDC?
Knowing your family medical history is the best way to know the right preventative steps for this cancer. These steps include early mammograms and screenings. There is no guaranteed preventive method, but you can take preventative steps beforehand to reduce the risk of IDC. Some of the useful steps you can take are:
- Try to maintain a healthy body weight always.
- Do proper regular exercise.
- Make sure you are taking a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Try not to smoke and limit your alcohol intake too.
Prognosis/Outlook/Survival Rate Of IDC
One may ask what to expect if they are diagnosed with IDC. If you are one of the patients, your doctor will discuss the treatment options that will be right for you. For this cancer, starting the treatment without delay is recommended.
In the early stages of IDC, the cancer is quite curable. However, it will depend on the tumor type and location.
The five-year survival rate of IDC in a localized area is significantly high, i.e., close to 100 percent. However, you must get the treatment in the early stages to increase your survival chance. In case the tumor spreads to other tissues, the five-year survival rate becomes 86%. The five-year survival rate becomes 28% if cancer spreads to distant parts of the body.
Note: Don’t confuse survival rates with how long you will live. The numbers are just data on people who have taken breast cancer treatment and have survived for more than five years. It is better to consult with your healthcare provider for your particular case.
Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer is common and has a high survival rate if provided treatment in the early stages. One common symptom of this cancer is a lump in the breast. Thankfully, there are several surgical and non-surgical treatments for IDC. Therefore, consult your doctor immediately when you notice some positive signs and symptoms. They will help you with the best treatment.
Many reputed health centers can provide you with the best treatments for IDC. Get the right help and increase your survival chance with the right treatment for this cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When Should One Consult A Healthcare Provider Regarding IDC?
When you find changes in your breast tissue, you should immediately consult/book an appointment with your doctor. Apart from this, you should consult a good healthcare provider when undergoing IDC treatment but going through related symptoms such as high fever, confusion, and chest and abdominal pain.
Why Choose A Specialized Cancer Center For IDC Treatment?
IDC requires proper diagnosis and treatment, which can only be done by a professional. Renowned centers have the best team and technology to provide comprehensive care to cancer-affected patients.
- A specialized team of radiologists, pathologists, and oncologists is available to provide proper care for every aspect of IDC.
- Continuous support is provided throughout the patient’s entire journey with breast cancer.
- Most tailored treatment options for every patient of IDC are available.
What Are The Stages Of IDC?
Depending on the size and how far the tumor has spread, there are around four stages of IDC. Stage 1 is the early stage, and Stage 4 is the most advanced.