Tubular carcinoma of the breast is a subtype of invasive ductal carcinoma (cancer that begins inside the breast's milk duct and spreads beyond it into healthy tissue). Tubular carcinomas are usually small (about 1 cm or less) and made up of tube-shaped structures called "tubules." These tumors tend to be low-grade, meaning that their cells look somewhat similar to normal, healthy cells and tend to grow slowly.
At one time, tubular carcinomas accounted for about 1-4% of all breast cancers. Now that screening mammography is widely used, however, tubular carcinomas are being diagnosed more frequently — often before you or your doctor would be able to feel a lump. Exact numbers aren't available, but studies suggest that tubular carcinomas may account for anywhere from just under 8% to 27% of all breast cancers.
Studies also suggest that the average age of diagnosis for tubular carcinoma is the early 50s, although women can be diagnosed with it at any age. This type of cancer is rare in men.
Even though tubular carcinoma is an invasive breast cancer, it tends to be a less aggressive type that responds well to treatment. It isn't likely to spread outside the breast and is considered to have a very good prognosis.
On the following pages, you can learn more about:
- Symptoms and Diagnosis of Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast
- Treatment of Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast
- Follow-Up Care for Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast
To connect with others who have been diagnosed with tubular carcinoma of the breast, visit the Breastcancer.org Discussion Board forum Less Common Types of Breast Cancer.
The medical experts for IDC Type: Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast are:
- Jennifer J. Griggs, M.D., medical oncologist/hematologist, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
- Clifford Hudis, M.D., Chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
These experts are members of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board, including more than 70 medical experts in breast cancer-related fields.