What Is Ductal Carcinoma? Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Ductal carcinoma is a breast cancer that can be either invasive or in situ (inside).

Learn more about breast cancer from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (Stage 0) is the most common non-invasive breast cancer, where abnormal cells have been contained in the lining of the breast milk duct.

Invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer, occurs when mutated cells spread from the milk ducts into the breast tissue. It can also metastasize and affect other parts of the body if left untreated.

Ductal Carcinoma Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop this type of cancer, the following factors are known to increase your risk:

Symptoms of Ductal Carcinoma

There are warning signs that could be symptoms of ductal carcinoma:

  • Changes in the breast, such as in the size or shape
  • A hard lump that doesn’t move freely
  • Fluid, especially bloody fluid, from the nipple (other than breast milk)
  • Red, swollen, dimpled, or puckered skin on the breast, nipple, or areola
  • A nipple that turns inward

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

Treatment Options for Ductal Carcinoma

As with all cancer, your doctor and health care team will work with you on the best treatment options based on your current health and test results. Treatment may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy, as well as several forms of surgery such as:

  • Mastectomy
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Axillary lymph node dissection