DCIS, IDC, and Metastatic – The Difference

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A tumor grows in the breast for at least 5 years before it can be palpated. That’s about 30 doublings and approximately ½ inch in size. According to the National Cancer Institute, tumor angiogenesis is defined as “the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. This growth is caused by the release of chemicals by the tumor and by host cells near the tumor”. There are many different types of breast cancer – some easy to diagnose and some more difficult. We will discuss several of the more prevalent forms.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), meaning “cancer in the original place”, is the presence of abnormal cells confined to the milk duct in the breast. This type of breast cancer is considered non-invasive, meaning that it hasn’t spread outside of the duct into the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer – Stage 0.

Once the abnormal cells begin to spread outside of the milk ducts into the surrounding breast tissue, it becomes Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. This is the most common type and accounts for 70% – 80% of all breast cancers. IDC is also the type of breast cancer usually found in men.

With Metastatic Breast Cancer – classified as Stage 4, the cancer has started spreading to other parts of the body. How does cancer spread or metastasize? According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer spreads through one of the following ways:

    • Cancer cells invade nearby healthy cells
    • Cancer cells penetrate into the circulatory or lymph system
    • Migration through circulation
    • Cancer cells lodge in capillaries
    • New small tumors grow (micro-metastases)

The thermal changes generated by the formation of new blood vessels, occurring at the beginning of a tumor’s growth, can be detected on a breast thermogram. Adding thermal imaging to monitor breast health has guided many women to early detection and intervention.

This article was condensed from an article published by the thermography center at memphis for Dr. David Jensen


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