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What is invasive or infiltrating ductal carcinoma?

Invasive ductal carcinoma is a type of cancer breast cancer. It is also commonly known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma as the cancer invades the milk ducts that carry milk in the breast. Studies have shown that this type of cancer is the most prevalent of all breast cancer types and accounts for about 80% of all breast cancer cases.

Types of breast cancer

Breast cancer is categorised by whether the cancerous cells are able to move or not. Basically, there are two types of breast cancer namely invasive and non-invasive cancers. Non-invasive breast cancer This means that the cancerous breast cells do not move from the initial point of development. In short, the cancerous cells remain localised at their original place without invading ducts, other tissues or blood vessels. An example of a non-invasive breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ. Invasive breast cancer This type of cancer as the name suggests, has the ability to spread to other healthy tissues. The invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is one good example where the cancerous cells break through the walls of the milk ducts. By this infiltration, the cancerous cells are able to move to other parts of the breast, for example, the lymph nodes.

Where does the invasive ductal carcinoma begin?

As the name suggest, this type of cancer starts in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple. When these ducts get infected and start multiplying at a higher rate, they are said to be cancerous. However, it is when the cancerous carcinoma - tissue that covers special organs, begins to invade and enter the duct pipes when the cancer is said to be metastatic. Metastases in cancer mean that the cancer cells are able to spread from their original points to form colonies in other distant tissues of the body.

Symptoms of infiltrating ductal carcinoma

The major symptom of this of breast cancer is that the breast develops lumps that can be felt upon touching. This is because cancer cells block the ducts and hence, a mass of cells collect at one particular point. IDC also tends to cause retraction of the nipple inside the breast.

Diagnosis and treatment

One may do self-breast exam and upon feeling an abnormal lump, a doctor should be sought for further examination. Professional diagnoses include use of a mammogram, breast tissue biopsy and high resolution ultrasound among others. Treatment options for IDC depend on how much the cancer has spread and how old it is. Common methods of treatment include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, mastectomy and hormonal therapy. However, the doctor chooses your treatment option according to the stage of the cancer.

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