Key Points about Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast
- Tubular carcinoma of the breast is a rare type of invasive breast cancer that begins in a breast duct.
- Tubular carcinoma of the breast is often more treatable than other types of invasive breast cancer.
- Doctors use biopsy, imaging tests, bone tests and physical exam to diagnose tubular carcinoma of the breast
- Treatment for tubular carcinoma of the breast may include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or radiation therapy.
Breast cancer is cancer that begins in the breast tissue. Tubular carcinoma of the breast is a type of invasive breast cancer, meaning that it starts in the breast duct cells and then spreads beyond that site. Cases of tubular breast cancer account for less than 2 percent of all breast cancer cases.
Compared to other types of invasive ductal cancers, tubular carcinoma of the breast is typically less aggressive, slower growing and responds better to treatment. Sometimes, tubular carcinoma of the breast is accompanied with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) .
Tubular carcinoma of the breast causes
Breast cancer is caused by mutations (changes) to the DNA of the cells of the breast. Tubular carcinoma of the breast begins when cells of the breast duct develop mutations, and then the cancer spreads from that initial site.
Tubular carcinoma of the breast risk factors
The following factors may increase your risk for developing tubular carcinoma of the breast:
- Being overweight or obese
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Having a family history of breast cancer
- Having your first baby after age 30
- Never having a baby
- Not breastfeeding your baby
- Undergoing hormone replacement therapy
- Undergoing radiation therapy to your chest or face before the age of 30
Tubular carcinoma of the breast symptoms
In its early stages, tubular carcinoma of the breast typically does not cause any signs or symptoms. Later on, you may develop a lump in the breast that is felt with your fingers, such as during a breast self-exam.
Tubular carcinoma of the breast diagnosis
Your oncologist may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Physical exam – your doctor will perform a complete physical exam, including asking questions about your health history, symptoms and related risk factors.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan – this type of imaging test provides a 3-D image of the inside of the body that your doctor can use to determine if there is any cancer present.
- Bone scan – your oncologist may order a bone scan if they suspect that the cancer may have spread to your bones.
- Biopsy – in this test, your doctor removes a biopsy (small tissue sample) from the suspicious area. This sample is sent to the laboratory, where a specialist closely checks the biopsy for abnormalities.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – this type of imaging test uses high-powered magnets to create detailed images of the inside of your body. Your doctor can closely examine these images to look for any areas that could indicate cancer.
Tubular carcinoma of the breast treatment
Depending on your personal health history, the extent of your tubular carcinoma of the breast and other factors, your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Surgery – in most cases, your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure to remove the cancerous area. Types of surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous cells and a margin of healthy tissue) and mastectomy (removal of an entire breast). Your surgeon will work to preserve as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible. In some cases, you may opt to undergo reconstructive surgery following surgery to treat breast cancer.
- Chemotherapy – you may need to undergo chemotherapy to destroy any microscopic cancerous cells that couldn’t be removed surgically. During this treatment, medication is used to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can be taken via an oral (by mouth) pill or intravenously (through a vein).
- Hormone therapy – if you have hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, your oncologist may recommend you undergo hormone therapy for the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
- Radiation therapy – this treatment uses high-powered energy beams to destroy cancerous cells. You may need to undergo radiation therapy to destroy any cancerous cells that couldn’t be removed surgically.
When should I seek care?
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing an oncologist for more specialized treatment.