Invasive ductal carcinoma treatment is designed to address cancer cells that initially form in a milk duct and then grow beyond the walls of the duct into the surrounding breast tissue. In many cases, surgery is recommended to remove the affected breast tissue and determine whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. Additionally, to treat a large tumor (measuring more than 1 centimeter in diameter) or cancer that has spread beyond the breast tissue and lymph nodes, a physician might recommend a systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, to destroy cancerous cells or shrink the tumor prior to surgery.
To determine the best treatment approach, a physician will evaluate many factors, including the size and spread of the tumor(s). In general, most patients are advised to consider one or more of the following invasive ductal carcinoma treatment options:
- Lumpectomy – A surgeon removes a breast tumor along with some surrounding healthy tissue.
- Mastectomy – A surgeon removes all or a portion of an affected breast and lymph nodes.
- Radiation therapy – High-energy rays are delivered to an affected breast and underarm area to destroy cancerous cells.
- Chemotherapy – Anti-cancer medications are injected into a vein or taken by mouth in pill form. The medication travels through the bloodstream to reach and damage cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy – If a cancer tests positive for hormone receptors (special proteins that tell the cancer cells when to grow and divide in response to the presence of certain hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone), hormonal therapy may be used to lower the amount of hormones in the body that can potentially signal cancer cell growth.
- Biological targeted therapy – If invasive ductal carcinoma is identified as being HER2-positive, this means that the cells produce excess amounts of a protein called HER2, which can cause the cancer to receive signals that cause it to grow very fast. HER2-targeted therapy is designed to block the receptors from receiving growth signals.
In the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive, multispecialty approach to breast cancer treatment. Our fellowship-trained surgeons focus their practice exclusively on treating breast cancer patients, and we offer a complete range of treatment options in one location, including promising clinical trials. Each patient’s treatment plan is developed and managed by not one general oncologist, but rather by a collaborative tumor board of oncology specialists who make evidence-based recommendations that offer the most promise for each scenario.