The most common type of invasive breast cancer is known as invasive ductal carcinoma or infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC). This type of cancer accounts for 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses.
Invasive ductal carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops when abnormal milk duct lining cells transform and spread into the nearby breast tissue. The cancer cells then begin to spread after that. These cancer cells break into the lymph nodes or bloodstream thus spreading to other organs and areas in the body. This leads to metastatic breast cancer.
Symptoms of Common Invasive Breast Cancer
Symptoms of common invasive breast cancer include:
Persistent breast pain
Swelling of the breast
Lump in the breast
Redness of the skin of the breast
Lumpy skin under the arms
Nipple or breast alterations that are not consistent with the patient’s menstruation cycle
Diagnosis of Common Invasive Breast Cancer
To accurately diagnose common invasive breast cancer, several tests may be recommended. These include:
Physical exam: The doctor conducts a manual examination of the patient’s breasts through which he/she can detect a lump and any other changes.
Mammogram: This is done through an X-ray, which produces internal pictures of the breast.
Ultrasound: This is an imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to take internal pictures of breast tissue.
Fine Needle Biopsy: If a lump is confirmed, a biopsy may be recommended. During this procedure a thin needle is connected to a syringe and inserted into the lump to remove a sample of tissue or fluid from the lump and sent to the lab for further examination under a microscope.
Staging workup: This is a common process performed after detecting the presence of cancer cells in the patient. It’s used to determine how far the cancer cells have spread.
Treatment of Common Invasive Breast Cancer
Common invasive breast cancer treatment can be either surgical or conservative (non-surgical).
Surgical procedures for IDC
Lumpectomy: Also known as breast-conserving surgery, a lumpectomy is a procedure that involves removing part of the breast. Radiation therapy may be recommended after the procedure to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Mastectomy: This involves the removal of the entire breast tissue. Patients who have numerous, highly aggressive invasive ductal tumors may benefit from a mastectomy. This procedure can be followed by breast reconstruction.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of medication to kill cancer cells, typically by preventing the growth, division, and production of new cancer cells. This can be administered before surgery to shrink a large tumor thus making surgery easier and/or lower the chance of recurrence.
Radiation: This involves the use of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells.
Hormone therapy: Also known as endocrine therapy, this is a fairly effective treatment for the majority of cancers that test positive for either the ER or PR hormone receptors. Prior to surgery, hormonal therapy may also be used to shrink a tumor. This will facilitate surgery and/or reduce the risk of recurrence.
Biologic (targeted) therapy: The method uses antibodies or small molecule drugs to activate the patient’s body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
The exact cause of invasive breast cancer is unknown, but certain risk factors such as age, family history, and hormonal factors can increase the risk of developing the disease.
The most common symptoms of invasive breast cancer include a lump or thickening in the breast tissue, changes in breast size or shape, nipple discharge, and changes in the texture or appearance of the breast skin.
Treatment for invasive breast cancer typically involves surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormonal therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent recurrence.
In some cases, invasive breast cancer may be hereditary, particularly if there is a family history of the disease or if the patient carries certain genetic mutations such as BRCA1 or BRCA2.