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Breast Cancer

Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma



I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. How serious is this and what can I expect regarding treatment? My biopsy indicated I have poorly differentiated infiltrating ductal carcinoma with one tumor of 1.5 centimeters. I am also concerned about how invasive this is.


There are a number of factors that influence the seriousness of breast cancer. And there are a number of treatment options. Most women choose lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Though recently there is a trend for more women to opt for mastectomy instead of lumpectomy, there is no survival advantage to this choice. So, if the tumor can be excised without total mastectomy, this is our usual recommendation.

Sometimes, when a cancer is larger, chemotherapy is given before surgery to cause tumor shrinkage to allow lumpectomy. After surgery, the recommendation for chemotherapy (or not) is based on your age and health, lymph node involvement and on factors related to tumor biology.

With respect to your concern about 'how invasive' this is, ductal carcinomas are either non-invasive (ductal carcinoma in situ) or invasive (infiltrating ductal carcinoma). Other factors of biology that your oncologist will discuss with you are those that affect prognosis.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University