What Do You Know About the Most Common Type of Breast Cancer?

Sara Suchy | April 18, 2012

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True or False: Infiltrating ductal carcinoma and invasive breast cancer are two different diagnoses.
  1. 0 True
  2. 1 False
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False. "Infiltrative" and "invasive" mean exactly the same thing: that the cancer cells have broken out of the area of your breast where they began to grow and have moved into the surrounding breast tissue.

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  1. True or False: Infiltrating ductal carcinoma and invasive breast cancer are two different diagnoses.

    Correct Answer: False

    False. "Infiltrative" and "invasive" mean exactly the same thing: that the cancer cells have broken out of the area of your breast where they began to grow and have moved into the surrounding breast tissue.

  2. Once your medical team has determined that you have IDC, they'll want to ascertain if it has spread and, if so, how far. The way to determine this is:

    Correct Answer: Removing and testing one or more of the lymph nodes in your armpit.

    #4: The surgeon will remove and examine one or more of the lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread.

  3. The usual course of treatment for invasive/infiltrating ductal carcinoma is:

    Correct Answer: All of the above.

    All of the above. Treatment will depend on the size and grade of the tumor, whether it's spread to one or more lymph nodes, whether it's hormone receptive, and a number of other factors.  One thing you can expect is to have surgery, either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, depending on how much of the breast tissue is affected.

  4. True or False: Once you complete your initial treatment for IDC, you'll take tamoxifen for several years to prevent a recurrence.

    Correct Answer: It Depends

    It depends. If you are pre-menopausal and your cancer is estrogen- or progesterone-receptive, you'll probably take tamoxifen (the long-time "gold standard" of hormonal therapy for breast cancer survivors) for up to five years.  But if you're post-menopausal, you might take an aromatase inhibitor.  And still other circumstances will require different follow-up procedures.

  5. Once you complete treatment for IDC:

    Correct Answer: You'll be watched carefully for signs of a recurrence, visiting your oncologist regularly for five or more years.

    #2: Follow ups and test will be required as you are still at risk for a recurrence.