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Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 

 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), also known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is a type of breast cancer that occurs when abnormal cells growing in the lining of the milk ducts change and invade breast tissue beyond the walls of the duct. The cancer cells then spread to the lymph nodes or bloodstream and further into other organs and areas in the body. This leads to metastatic breast cancer. 

Causes of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 

It is not quite known what the causes of IDC are, but specialists have identified certain risks associated with it. These include: 

  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Smoking 
  • Being overweight 
  • Previous radiation to the chest 
  • Early onset of menstruation 
  • Advanced menopause 
  • Having children later in life 

Symptoms of IDC 

Common symptoms of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma include: 

  • Swelling of the breast 
  • Nipple discharge 
  • Lump in the breast 
  • Redness of the skin of the breast 
  • Persistent pain 
  • Scaly skin on the nipple 
  • Lumps in the underarm 
  • Dimpling of the skin of the breast or nipple 

Diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 

To make a definitive diagnosis, the specialist will perform a physical exam by manually examining the patient’s breast to detect a lump. If the doctor feels the presence of a lump or any thickening, he/she may recommend the following tests to rule in/out IDC: 

Digital mammography: This is an improved method for breast imaging usually performed much like a regular mammogram. It is more advanced because it is the most suitable test for detecting cancer in younger patients who normally have dense breast tissue. 

Breast ultrasound: The procedure uses sound waves to examine breast tissue. During the procedure, the doctor can gauge the patient’s blood flow. Since ultrasound doesn’t use radiation, it is safe for examining expectant patients 

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): It uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to detect small breast lesions. MRI is more useful in examining patients with a high risk of breast cancer. 

Fine Needle Biopsy: During the procedure doctor takes a sample of breast tissue from a suspected area, and sends it to the lab for further evaluation under a microscope. 

Staging workup: This is a procedure that helps the doctor to determine how far the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes or to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. 

Treatment of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 

Treatment of invasive carcinoma is based on the following factors: 

  • Size of the cancer cells 
  • Location of the cancer cells 
  • Characteristics/features of the cancer cells 
  • The staging 

The following procedures can be used in the treatment of IDC: 

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. 

Nonsurgical treatment 

  • 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. 
  • Hormone (targeted) therapy: Progesterone and estrogen can be used to treat breast tumors that have hormone receptors that are positive. These prescriptions come in pills and may be given for an extended period of time. 

 

 

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