Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is a common form of breast cancer, accounting for approximately 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses. This malignancy develops in the ducts that carry milk from the milk glands to the nipples. From there, it can spread into the nearby tissues and lymph nodes.
The extent of the cancer is what separates invasive, or infiltrating, ductal carcinoma from another similar type of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ. Invasive means that the cancer has invaded nearby breast tissue, while in situ means that the cancer has not spread outside of the duct(s).
Causes of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
As with all types of breast cancer, what exactly causes invasive ductal carcinoma is unknown. However, the risk for the condition is likely increased by a combination of factors, which include:
- A family history of breast cancer
- Poor nutrition
- Radiation therapy to the chest area on a previous occasion
In some cases, the gene mutations of breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1), breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2) and others can lead to the development of invasive ductal carcinoma.
Symptoms of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
A patient with invasive ductal carcinoma may not experience symptoms. But when symptoms are present, they may include:
- A lump in the breast or underarm area
- Breast pain
- Thickening of breast skin
- Swelling of the breast
- Dimpling of the breast skin or nipple
- Redness or rash on the breast
- Abnormal changes in breast or nipple appearance
- The nipple turning inward
- Abnormal pain in breast or nipple
- Nipple discharge
Diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Diagnosing invasive ductal carcinoma may involve:
- A mammogram, which takes a picture of the breasts
- A biopsy, which is a procedure to obtain breast tissue for testing
- An ultrasound, which uses soundwaves to generate images of breast tissue
- Breast MRI, which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of breast tissue
Treatments for Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
At Tampa General Hospital’s Cancer Institute, we design each patient’s treatment plan around a number of individualized factors and a patient’s personal preferences. Because invasive ductal carcinomas have spread outside of their original location, they often require a combination of several treatments.
Depending on the extent of the metastasis, surgery may be recommended to remove part or all of the breast; surgical removal of the lymph nodes may also be necessary.
After surgical treatment, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Hormone therapy, if the cancerous cells are receptive to hormone-based treatments