Ductal carcinoma is breast cancer that begins in the milk ducts. Noninvasive ductal carcinoma, or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), is the earliest form of breast cancer. Cancer cells are growing within the lining of milk ducts and have not spread anywhere else in the breast. They remain in place, or in situ, inside the duct.
Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for about 80 percent of cases. It starts in the milk duct, but has spread to other breast tissues or outside the breast.
At St. Joseph's Cancer Institute, our experienced oncologists use a multidisciplinary approach and advanced treatments to fight ductal carcinoma in the Stockton region. For a trusted diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, Find a Doctor.
Ductal Carcinoma Risk Factors
Men can get breast cancer, but being a woman is the main risk factor for developing any breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma. Your risk also increases with age, family or personal history of breast cancer, and early menstruation (younger than 12) or late menopause (older than 55).
Other risk factors include:
- Previous chest radiation therapy
- Defects in genes linked to breast cancer such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Dense breast tissue
- Your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES), a medication once prescribed to prevent miscarriages, while she was pregnant with you
- Caucasian race
If you are at risk of or have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, it’s important that you and your doctor at Dignity Health discuss your treatment plan as soon as possible to give you the best chance for a full recovery.
Ductal Carcinoma Symptoms & Diagnosis
Mammogram screening usually finds ductal carcinoma. Signs and symptoms are rare for DCIS. For invasive ductal carcinoma, women may notice a lump, nipple discharge, skin or nipple changes, pain, or swelling.
Most cases of ductal carcinoma show up on a mammogram as clusters of tiny spots, called microcalcifications. Your doctor will likely recommend a biopsy to examine the cells in these clusters. The biopsy will tell your doctor more about the cancer, including its type and how it reacts to certain hormones. This information guides your treatment plan.
The Latest Ductal Carcinoma Treatment & Prevention Strategies
Our treatments for ductal carcinoma usually involves surgery, even if the cancer has not spread from the milk duct. Your doctor will stage your breast cancer, or measure how far the breast cancer has spread, to determine the type of surgery you need.
There are two general types of surgery for ductal carcinoma: mastectomy and lumpectomy. Mastectomy removes the entire breast. Lumpectomy is breast-conserving surgery that removes the tumor and some normal tissue surrounding it. Radiation therapy is usually necessary after lumpectomy.
Other treatment options may include targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. Your doctor and nurse navigator will help you understand what to expect from any treatment.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute provides expertise in ductal carcinoma in Stockton and the surrounding areas.