Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
School of Medicine
I Want to...
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), also known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is cancer that began growing in the duct and has invaded the fatty tissue of the breast outside of the duct. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, representing 80 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses.
What are the symptoms of invasive ductal carcinoma?
As with any breast cancer, there may be no signs or symptoms. A mammogram may reveal a suspicious mass, which will lead to further testing. A woman may also find a lump or mass during a breast self-exam. The following are possible signs of breast cancer and should immediately be reported to your physician for further evaluation:
- Lump in the breast
- Thickening of the breast skin
- Rash or redness of the breast
- Swelling in one breast
- New pain in one breast
- Dimpling around the nipple or on the breast skin
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Nipple discharge
- Lumps in the underarm area
- Changes in the appearance of the nipple or breast that are different from the normal monthly changes a woman experiences
How is invasive ductal carcinoma diagnosed?
Same Day Results
At the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, we know how quickly patients want results from a biopsy or scan if there is a suspicion of breast cancer. We follow strict guidelines for biopsies and pathology reports. Most of our patients will receive the probability of cancer immediately following their biopsy procedure and a pathology confirmation within 24 hours.
Learn more about the steps of diagnosis, including:
What is the treatment for invasive ductal carcinoma?
Treatment for all types of IDC is determined by the exact type of cancer and staging. Depending on the size and spread of the tumor(s), most women will undergo a combination of any of the following treatments:
- Sentinel node biopsy
- Axillary node dissection
- Breast reconstruction
- Hormonal therapy
- Biologic targeted therapy
What is the prognosis for invasive ductal carcinoma?
Based on individual markers and prognostic factors, including the staging of your tumor, your physician will work to give you a prognosis. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, our team of breast cancer specialists is dedicated to developing cutting-edge techniques for surgery, breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, biologic targeted therapy, radiation therapy and other hormonal therapies. Our research allows us to make great strides forward for patients with breast cancer.
Additional types of invasive ductal carcinoma:
There are four types of invasive ductal carcinoma that are less common:
- Medullary Ductal Carcinoma – This type of cancer is rare and only three to five percent of breast cancers are diagnosed as medullary ductal carcinoma. The tumor usually shows up on a mammogram and it does not always feel like a lump; rather it can feel like a spongy change of breast tissue.
- Mucinous Ductal Carcinoma – This occurs when cancer cells within the breast produce mucous, which also contains breast cancer cells, and the cells and mucous combine to form a tumor. Pure mucinous ductal carcinoma carries a better prognosis than more common types of IDCs
- Papillary Ductal Carcinoma – This cancer looks like tiny fingers under the microscope. It is only in rare cases that this kind of cancer becomes invasive. Common among women age 50 and older, this kind of cancer is treated like DCIS, despite being an invasive cancer.
- Tubular Ductal Carcinoma – This is a rare diagnosis of IDC, making up only two percent of diagnoses of breast cancer. Tubular ductal carcinoma is more common in women older than 50 and are usually small, estrogen-receptor positive cancers, which means they respond to hormones. The name comes from how the cancer looks under the microscope; like hundreds of tiny tubes.