What You Need to Know About Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

November 12, 2012

What You Need to Know About Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Invasive ductal carcinoma is also called infiltrating carcinoma or infiltrating ductal carcinoma. But no matter what you call it, you never want to get it. It’s a form of breast cancer. About 80% of all women with breast cancer suffer from invasive ductal carcinoma. Men also get invasive ductal carcinoma, but not as often as women do. By the time a woman or man experiences changes of the breast, the cancer is large and spreading. The cancer began in the milk ducts and has burst out into surrounding breast tissue. This is why it is so important for women to get an annual mammogram to check for strange growths or masses deep inside of the breast tissue that a woman cannot detect from the usual breast self-exam. Symptoms The most common first symptom of invasive ductal carcinoma is a lump on the breast. Many women and men ignore a lump on the breast because 8 out of every 10 breast lumps will not be malignant. But it’s vitally important or all sudden changes in the breast, including a lump, to be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms include:

  • Armpit lump or lumps

  • Pain or soreness in the breast or nipple

  • Inverted nipples

  • Any liquid oozing from the nipples that is not milk

  • Sudden swelling anywhere on the breast or nipple

  • Red, itchy or scaly skin on the breast or nipple

  • Dimples appearing on the breast

  • Sudden change of breast skin texture or nipple texture.


Both men and women need to undergo a variety of tests to determine if the person has cancer. These tests include ultrasound; MRIs; more mammograms; a biopsy and exploratory surgery. The last test is rarely performed anymore unless there is an emergency or a patient cannot have access to imaging machinery.

There are four main type of biopsies, the least invasive of which is fine needle aspiration, which usually does not require a stay in hospital. All of the other types involve anesthesia or a stay in hospital as they are surgeries. These are core needle biopsy (which can sometimes be performed in an oncologist’s or surgeon’s office); incisional biopsy, where a section of breast tissue is removed and excisional biopsy, where the surgeon tries to remove the tumor immediately and have it examined.


Prognosis for invasive ductal carcinoma depends on how far the cancer has advanced and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Oncologists classify cancers into five stages, (Zero through 4) where Stage Four is the worst news you can receive. People rarely are diagnosed with Stage Zero or “carcinoma in situ” for breast cancer simply because they are not feeling any symptoms at that time, but a mass may be picked up during an annual mammogram. Prognosis for Stage One is very good but not 100% guaranteed to cure you.

On average, 85% of women with invasive ductal carcinoma are still alive after five years.


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