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Symptoms of invasive ductal carcinoma can arise if cancer cells that initially form in a breast milk duct invade the fatty tissue outside the duct or the nearby lymph nodes. However, this common type of breast cancer sometimes produces very subtle symptoms (or no warning signs at all), especially in its earliest stages. For these reasons, it is important to be aware of even the most minor changes in your breasts and to consult with a physician if you notice anything unusual. A good practice is to perform monthly self-examinations and undergo routine screening tests at a physician-recommended frequency.

The symptoms of invasive ductal carcinoma can vary; the most common include:

  • A palpable lump or mass in a breast or underarm area
  • Thickened or dimpled breast skin
  • Redness or rash on breast skin
  • Swelling of one breast
  • Unusual pain in one breast
  • Dimpling around a nipple
  • Inward turning of a nipple
  • Nipple discharge
  • Other changes in the size, shape, contour or feel of a breast that differ from what you normally experience

While these symptoms warrant attention and should be checked by a health care provider, they are not all conclusive indicators of cancer, so there is no need to panic if you notice one (or more) signs. For instance, breast changes often occur at various points during the menstrual cycle, and lumps can appear and resolve on their own. Additionally, natural breast tissue has a lumpy texture that is very pronounced in some individuals. The bottom line is this: Any time you are uncertain about a breast change, you should see a physician right away for peace of mind.

If you’d like to discuss symptoms of invasive ductal carcinoma, you can consult with the multispecialty team at the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center – and you do not need a referral to do so. Call 1-888-663-3488, or complete a new patient registration form online.