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What is Tubular Carcinoma?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Tubular carcinoma is an uncommon type of breast cancer. It is in the category of invasive ductal carcinomas, which are cancers that form within the milk duct. They can then spread beyond that area, to the rest of the breast. Tubular carcinoma rarely spreads beyond the breast, however, it may sometimes affect the lymph nodes, which are immune system structures.

This type of cancer is responsible for only about 1 - 2% of incidences of breast cancer. It is distinct from other cancers in that the tumors are relatively small. The cells are low-grade and tube-shaped. Low-grade is a term used to indicate that the cells multiply slowly, and may be difficult to distinguish from healthy cells.

Patients with tubular carcinoma may not experience any symptoms initially. Gradually, a lump may develop in the breast. Patients may notice this during a self-examination. A tumor usually feels firm.

Surgery may be required for tubular cancer.
Surgery may be required for tubular cancer.

The doctor may suspect breast cancer during a routine physical exam. He will likely recommend tests to properly diagnose the condition. A mammogram is an imaging test that can examine the breasts. The doctor may also use an ultrasound or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

To confirm the diagnosis and determine the exact type of cancer the patient has, a biopsy is required. This is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the tumor. The doctor will either use a small incision or a needle to remove the tissue, which is then sent to a lab for analysis.

After tubular carcinoma has been diagnosed, the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment plan for the patient. This can vary, depending on how large the tumor is and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes. One possibility is surgery.

Surgery may remove the cancerous tumors, and any lymph nodes that have been affected. There are three possible types of surgeries: a total mastectomy, a modified radical mastectomy, and a lumpectomy. A total mastectomy involves the removal of the breast, but excludes removal of lymph nodes. Modified radical mastectomies involve removal of not only the breast, but also the affected nodes and the chest wall lining. Patients undergoing a lumpectomy will have only part of the breast removed, and may also have some lymph nodes removed.

Additional treatment is often needed, in conjunction with surgery. Patients may undergo chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, which both involve taking medications. Other patients may be candidates for radiation therapy, which uses a type of energy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

A patient’s prognosis for recovering from tubular carcinoma is typically favorable. This type of cancer tends to be easier to treat than others. After undergoing treatment for tubular carcinoma, patients will still need to have regular check-ups with the doctor.

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    • Surgery may be required for tubular cancer.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Surgery may be required for tubular cancer.