NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,812 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

ductal carcinoma
(DUK-tul KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
The most common type of breast cancer. It begins in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple). Ductal carcinoma may be either ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or invasive ductal carcinoma. DCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct and have not spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. In some cases, DCIS may become invasive cancer. In invasive ductal carcinoma, cancer has spread outside the breast duct to surrounding normal tissue. It can also spread through the blood and lymph systems to other parts of the body.