Invasive, sometimes called Infiltrating, is a scary word. In most cases this form of breast cancer has been present for 8–10 years when detected by a mammogram or physical exam.
In my case there was clearly an area that felt thickened or dense on December 6, 2007. A mammogram the next afternoon was not able to detect it but it clearly appeared on ultrasound and was confirmed by multiple biopsies the same day.
During those 8 to 10 years the cancer took to become apparent to me, there has been plenty of opportunity for those invasive cells to get out of the breast and spread to the rest of the body.
It is after all, by definition, an invasive form of cancer.
Each year about 190 thousand women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the US and about 40 thousand women will die of the disease. The larger the mass is when discovered the more risk. Mine had tentacled almost 5cm into the surrounding tissue and two other areas in the breast were discovered as well.
My chances of living another 10 years without cancer in another area are about 40%. The likelihood of one of my other underlying health conditions doing the job before that is 20%. it took a few months to get used to that idea.
Now though my attitude is that at least I know what I'm facing. It's just not what I expected. Life changes in an instant.