Symptoms And Treatment Of Invasive Breast Cancer

Symptoms And Treatment Of Invasive Breast Cancer

Symptoms And Treatment Of Invasive Breast Cancer Breast cancer happens to be the most common form of cancer in women. In most cases, a woman may have breast cancer and not notice it until the symptoms start worsening. And almost 1 out of every 8 women would suffer from invasive breast cancer at least once in her lifetime.

Invasive breast cancer is characterized by the movement of cancerous cells from inside the lobules and ducts of the breasts to the breast tissues. In certain cases, the cancerous cells can spread to the lymph nodes in the armpits and even beyond them.

Invasive (or ‘infiltrating’) breast cancer differs from metastatic breast cancer in that the former is restricted to areas near the breast while the latter spreads to other distant parts of the body, including the vital organs. And while it may be easy to treat invasive breast cancer when compared to metastatic breast cancer which cannot be cured, it is considered essential for women to recognize the symptoms of invasive breast cancer as and when they start occurring. The treatment of invasive breast cancer would also depend on the initial symptoms to a large extent.

General Characteristics of Invasive Breast Cancer

The female breast is made up of multiple layers of fat, glands, connective tissues, lymph vessels and nodes, tiny ducts and small lobules. During lactation, the milk generated in the glands reaches the nipple via the lobules and ducts. The lymph nodes play an important role in keeping away harmful bacteria, infectious cells and other harmful substances that could lead to conditions like breast cancer.

In most cases, breast cancer would start in the tiny ducts and lobules that supply milk to the nipples. In certain cases, the cancer would start in the connective tissues that provide support to the breast. And in some cases, the disease may start in the glands and move on to other areas within the breast.

In the case of invasive breast cancer, the cancerous cells develop in the ducts and lobules and then spread to the breast tissues and glands. In certain cases, the cancer would even pass through the lymph nodes to other local areas of the body like the armpits.

Types of Invasive Breast Cancer

Invasive Breast Cancer is divided two broad classifications. These include:

Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

Over 15% of invasive breast cancer cases fall into this category. ILC is characterized by the formation of cancerous cells in the milk glands and lobules which then spread to the fatty breast tissues via the duct walls.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Invasive Breast Cancer


In the case of ICL, the individual would experience breast thickening or an abnormal mass restricted to a particular area.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

Accounting for nearly 85% of all invasive breast cancers, IDC starts within the milk ducts and quickly spreads through the duct walls to the breast tissues. In certain cases, the disease may be localized and would stay near the site of the original tumor. However, in others the cells may invade the bloodstream and metastasize to distant organs and body parts.

Combined Types

Invasive breast cancers resembling both IDC and ILC are also reported although very rare.

Risk Factors Associated with Invasive Breast Cancer

While age may play an important part in increasing the risks of invasive breast cancer (the condition is common in women between the age group of 45-55 years), it would be possible for women below 45 years of age or older than 55 years of age to get invasive breast cancer.

The possibility of these occurrences would be further increased by a few risk factors like genetics, obesity, radiation exposure, unhealthy diets, family history and alcohol intake.

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Important Signs and Symptoms of Invasive Breast Cancer

Although the signs of invasive breast cancer would remain hidden during the initial stages, it may be possible to notice a few symptoms as the condition progresses to the advanced stages.There are several treatments available for invasive breast cancer in women.

Some of the more common symptoms of invasive breast cancer in women include the formation of lumps on the breast or underarms (either like a soft spot or a hard marble), breast thickening, changes in the shape/size/contour of the affected breast, dry and scaly skin on the breasts, redness and inflammation of skin in and around the affected breast and clear or bloody discharge from the nipple etc.

The symptoms of invasive breast cancer can be easily noticed during self breast exams. Routine mammograms would also be able to pick up symptoms that are not visible outside the breast.

Treatment of Invasive Breast Cancer

There are several treatments available for invasive breast cancer in women. The specific type of treatment would vary depending on a few important factors like the size of the tumor, the exact location of the tumor inside the breast, the biopsy results which would indicate whether the cancer cells are malignant or benign, the specific stage of the cancer (if malignant), the age of the patient, existing health conditions like diabetes or hypertension etc. and the patient’s personal opinion about the planned treatment.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Invasive Breast Cancer


Accordingly, invasive breast cancer can be treated by a range of treatment procedures like chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and biologic therapy. In certain cases, a combination of these treatments can be used to treat the patient. It would also take a few tests (and a few trial and error situations) to zero in on the treatment that gives the best results without causing too many side effects.

The location of the tumor inside the breast plays an important role in determining the type of cancer treatment as well. While local invasive breast cancer treatments like radiation therapy and surgery target small groups of localized cancer cells that do not spread far from the site of the original tumor, systematic invasive breast treatments like hormone therapy, chemotherapy and biologic therapy would target large groups of cancerous cells that have spread to other distant parts of the body.

Clinical Trial Treatments

In some cases, a patient can enroll to be part of a clinical trial that would enable her to receive the best and highest standard treatment for the cancer as well as receive futuristic treatments that hold promises of delivering better results than the traditional treatment procedures. These futuristic treatments would either be in the form of medications or alternative medical procedures.

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