Today, a lot of women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer. And invasive ductal breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women. Only in the United States, 1 out of 8 women tested positive for cancer. It means that 13% of women in America will develop breast cancer-like problems over their whole lifetime. That being said, nearly 287,850 women are expected to get diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 2022 itself. Out of which, 51,400 are the non-invasive type.
In the United States, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women, and out of all the breast cancer cases, the invasive type of ductal breast cancer is the most common. So this blog will tell you about invasive ductal breast cancer and its symptoms and treatment.
What Is Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer?
Invasive (intrusive) ductal breast cancer is also known as invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). This invasive type of breast cancer spreads into the breast tissues.
The ducts in the breast are passages for the milk to move from the milk glands to the nipple. And the reason behind IDC is the formation of abnormal tissues in the lining of the milk passages that spread and enter the breast tissues. The abnormal tissues that go beyond the milk duct become the reason behind the spread of cancer.
Once the cells of cancer leave the duct walls and spread outside, it creates a space for cancer cells to spread. The cells then break into bloodstreams or lymph nodes. After which, they travel to different sections and organs of the body, which leads to metastatic breast cancer.
What Is The Difference Between The Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) And Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)?
There are two types of breast cancer, known as Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The main difference between the two is their stage. In DCIS, the cancer cells are still inside the duct walls and haven’t spread to any parts of the body. Whereas in IDC, the cancerous cells have already escaped the duct walls and are spreading out toward the breast tissues. To know what type of cancer you have, you should go for a physical examination that will explain all about your cancer stage.
Who Does Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer Affect?
Invasive ductal cancer is found in both men and women. And the most common age during which people are more prone to face this problem is 55. But that doesn’t mean that it cannot happen before or after the age of 55. The individuals who are at a higher risk of developing this problem are transwomen, in contrast to cisgender males. On the contrary, cisgender women have higher chances of developing this problem when compared to transmen.
In the majority of cases, the symptoms of Invasive ductal cancer are not visible or detectable. The only way to figure out if you have any such problem is when the doctor points it out after a mammogram screening.
However, that is not the case with every individual. In other instances, you may feel a lump in the breast. If you feel any of the below-mentioned changes in your breast may be the initial signs of invasive ductal breast cancer. The symptoms of this problem are:
- Pain in the nipple or breast region.
- Swelling or a lump in your underarm region
- Unusual discharge from the nipple, other than the breast milk
- Signs of irritation on the skin
- Swelling in the whole breast area or even just a small region
- Redness, thickening, or scaling of the breast or nipple skin
- Dimpling skin, i.e., the skin looks similar to an orange peel.
- The retraction or turning of the nipple inwardly
- The difference in how your nipple or breast looks is in contrast to the regular monthly changes.
Reasons That Cause Ductal Carcinoma
According to studies, the reasons that cause of IDC are not clear yet. However, there are still a few reasons that can lead to IDC. Those reasons are:
- Being obese or overweight
- Drinking alcohol
- Never being pregnant
- Early start of the menstrual periods
- Previous radiation to the chest
- Late start of menopause
Types Of Diagnostic Tests For IDC
There are multiple ways through which doctors can check and identify if you have invasive ductal cancer or not. The ways through which doctors can diagnose this problem are:
Physical Breast Examination
The most common way through which a doctor checks for breast cancer is a physical breast examination. In the physical examination, the doctor manually checks for lumps or any other physical changes in the breast. If the doctor is able to feel any type of skin thickening or lump, then they may suggest further tests to ensure whether you have IDC or not.
In a biopsy, doctors will take samples of your tissues from the breast, especially the part where it feels like there is a problem. After which, your sample is sent for lab testing, where an expert will check it using a microscope to know if you have any problem or not. These professionals are experts in recognizing any signs of diseases. A biopsy can tell whether you have cancerous cells in your body or not. And if you do, then what type of cancer do you have?
An x-ray picture of the breast area is known as a mammogram. Doctors generally use it to check for early signs of breast cancer. But today, professionals generally use digital mammograms. The function of this is similar to the regular one. Yet, it is better to detect the signs of cancer in younger individuals.
Furthermore, it is also beneficial in recognizing cancer signs in individuals with thick breast tissue. The images from the mammogram are then enhanced with the use of a computer-assisted recognition system. This system can detect abnormalities in the breast region and catch lumps and calcifications.
In this type of examination, the doctors use sound waves to check the breast tissues and check for blood flow. It shows clear images of internal organs and tissues without radiation, which makes it safe for even pregnant women.
MRI Breast Scan
The MRI tests include the use of magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of breast tissues. The computer is capable of detecting even the smallest of lesions in the breast. It is especially beneficial for people who are at a high risk of breast cancer. Such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and any other type of gene mutation that can lead to breast cancer.
Stages Of IDC Cancer
These diagnoses will display the breast cancer stage you are at. Doctors use the word staging to learn the progress of breast cancer and its spread in the other parts. Learning about the stages will help you guide in the possible way to understand your condition.
The doctors use the test results to learn everything regarding the tumor. The doctors use the TNM system to group your tumor stage.
In this category, the doctors check the size of the tumor and its position.
Whether the tumor has spread to the lymph node or not. And if yes, then where and in what amount?
If the cancer cells have extended to other areas of the body. If yes, then which ones and in what amount?
To categorize your cancer stage, the doctors use the results of the TNM with how the tumor cells and tissues look when seen through a microscope and the status of your hormone receptors. They look for any kind of response of proteins in the cancer cells with hormones like progesterone or estrogen and the HER2 gene.
The stages of cancer include:
Stage 0 is a non-invasive type of breast cancer. It is still limited to the milk ducts and has not spread to other areas. (Tis, M0, N0)
A Tumor is invasive, small in size, and hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or any other part. (T1, N0, M0)
Related Blog: Metastatic Breast Cancer Vs. Breast Cancer: The Ultimate Guide
In this stage, cancer has grown out to other areas of the lymph nodes. The size of the lymph nodes is bigger than 0.2mm but smaller than 2mm. Or maybe the size of a tumor is 20mm or smaller, or there is no sign of a tumor in the body at all. (T0 or T1, N1, M0).
This stage consists of a few signs:
- There is no hint of a tumor in the breast region. And the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes between 1 and 3 in the underarm region but not to the faraway body parts (T0, N1, M0).
- Cancer has spread to the underarm lymph nodes, and the tumor is either 20mm or smaller (T1, N1, M0).
- A tumor is between the size of 20mm to 50mm but has not reached any of the nearby nodes (T2, N0, M0).
Any of the below-mentioned signs:
- The size of a tumor is between 20mm to 50mm and has reached one to three underarm lymph nodes (T2, N1, M0).
- The tumor size is bigger than 50mm and has not yet reached any of the underarm lymph nodes (T3, N0, M0).
Any of the signs:
- Cancer of whatever size has expanded to four to nine underarm lymph nodes or under your chest wall. But has not reached any of the other body parts yet. (T0, T1, T2, or T3, N2, M0).
- The tumor bigger than the size 50mm has reached one to three close-by lymph nodes ( T3, N1, M0).
The tumor has:
- Been detected as inflammatory breast cancer.
- Reached around the chest wall.
- Not reaching out to the other body parts (T4; N0, N1 or N2; M0).
- Caused breast sores or swelling.
- It might or might not have reached up to the 9 lymph nodes under the chest wall or your arm.
This stage includes the reach of tumor size to the close by ten or more lymph nodes, nodes below underneath the collarbone, and lymph nodes in the breast. It hasn’t reached other body areas (T3, N3, M0).
It is the stage where the size of the tumor is not limited to a specific size and has reached organs like far away lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, chest wall, or brain (any N, any T, M1).
Nearly 5 to 6 percent times doctors are able to detect metastatic cancer in their first diagnosis. It is generally detected from the previous diagnosis of an early stage of breast cancer.
The recurrent stage is the one where cancer returns after the treatment. Cancer can be local, distant, or regional. And if it does return, you will have to go for another test round to know about your condition and stage. The tests in this stage are much like the previous ones.
Types Of Treatment For IDC
The treatment for this kind of problem is based on the size of cancer, its placement, and its characteristics. It is also based on how much cancer has spread throughout the body. There are different types of approaches that a doctor can take when it comes to treating breast cancer. It includes:
The doctors do hormonal therapy to stop the hormone receptor-positive cancer cells from responding to estrogen, progesterone, or both. Hormonal therapy is also known as endocrine or anti-estrogen therapy. In this therapy, the drugs reduce the production of estrogen in the body or stop the effect of estrogen on the cells of breast cancer.
In the majority of cases, radiation therapy is only recommended after the surgery. The doctor uses it to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body. Sometimes, the doctor may also use it before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor. It is also used when removing a tumor is impossible because of its placement or size.
This technique uses your own immune system to defend against cancer cells. The features of the cancer cells will decide whether immunotherapy is an option for you or not. Doctors may use this technique with chemotherapy to help your body fight cancer.
During surgery, a doctor removes the tumor from your body. There are two types of surgeries. First, one in which the doctor will only remove the tumor is known as a Lumpectomy. The second one is where the doctor will remove some part or maybe the whole breast tissue, which is known as Mastectomy. However, surgery is only done after the doctor goes through your medical history and your family’s and knows about your choices.
Just like radiation therapy, chemotherapy can be given before or after the surgery, based on your condition. For individuals who have invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer, chemotherapy may be given ahead of the surgery to reduce the dimensions of the tumor or after going through the surgery to lower the possibility of cancer coming back. Doctors can also use it as a stand-alone treatment method for individuals who have metastatic breast cancer (the type where the cells of cancer advance from the breast to other areas of the body).
Target therapies are the kind of treatments in which the doctors focus on a particular feature of cancer cells, like the protein that helps the cancer cell growth at a rapid pace or in an abnormal way. Some of the targeted therapies are antibodies. These antibodies are the proteins that are naturally made by your body to fight against any foreign attackers, for instance, infection-causing germs in our bodies. This type of therapy functions similarly to the antibodies made by our immune system. It is also sometimes known as immune-targeted therapy.
Side-Effects Of Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer Treatments
Cancer treatments have side effects. However, the range and your experience of those are based on how complex or advanced your tumor is. It also depends on the treatment you get and its position in the body.
Individuals who go through breast cancer surgery may experience issues like blood clots, infection, or maybe problems from anesthesia. Individuals who undergo treatment methods like radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy may face side effects like:
- Mood fluctuations
- Fertility issues
- Hair loss
- Skin reactions
- Muscle pain
- Weight changes
- Mouth sores
However, individuals who receive hormonal therapy may feel different side effects, such as:
- Joint pain
- Vaginal dryness or discharge
- Hot flashes
- Low sexual desire
- Changes in weight
- Sudden mood shift
These are not all, and you may feel other side effects too. However, if you feel any side effects, you can contact your doctor and take their suggestions.
Survivorship Care Suggestions After IDC Treatment
With the help of advanced treatments and early-stage testing of cancer, more and more individuals are living for a long time. It is the case for every type of cancer, which includes breast cancer as well. Based on expert studies and estimates, more than 3.8 million individuals in the United States are breast cancer survivors.
However, because of the treatments, there is a bigger risk of individuals developing other problems in the body. For instance, you can develop problems like heart disease, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure with age. To ensure the monitoring of the patients who have gone through cancer treatments, experts have created a plan known as survivorship care.
Survivorship plans are divided into two sections. The first section includes a summary of all the treatments you have received. And the second part of the paper describes the side effects that you may feel in the coming years (these side effects can be long-term or short-term). And the ways in which they will monitor you for those problems. This section includes things like:
- The types of tests you will have to go through
- Which doctor will recommend you the test
- A proper plan and timeline for your tests
- Suggestions for healthy living
- And places where you can get more information.
There are several treatments for breast cancer invasive ductal carcinoma. And the best place for you to get the most effective cancer treatment is at University Cancer Centers. We have successfully treated several patients using our specialized cancer treatments. Our team of medical experts uses several types of treatments to treat invasive ductal breast cancer. Furthermore, we offer personalized treatment to every patient to get the best possible results. To know more or book an appointment, visit our website https://universitycancercenters.com/
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Survival Estimate For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma?
When IDC is treated in its early stage, the survival rate is as high as 100% in five years. And when the cancer is spread to other body parts, the five-year survival rate still stands at 86%. However, if cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the five-year survival rate is 28%.
What Is The Main Cause Behind Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer?
The main reason that can cause IDC in individuals is the damage to the DNA and the genetic mutation in the breast tissue cells. Any harm to the DNA can lead to changes in several genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are responsible for cell growth, cell survival, division, and stopping cell death.
How Long Does It Take Invasive Breast Cancer To Spread?
If you look at the average time, it takes nearly one-eighty days or six months for breast cancer to double in size. However, the growth rate of cancer cells is based on several factors and reasons.
Is Surgery Necessary For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma?
While surgery is, generally, the first step doctors suggest for IDC treatment. Several other treatments can help with the problem. For instance, doctors may first use radiation or chemotherapy to decrease the size of the tumor. Or they can use it later to kill any cancer cells left after the surgery.