Friday, August 16, 2013

Is DCIS Breast Cancer?

Is DCIS Breast Cancer?

This seems to be a hot topic of late.. Appropriate for August . We know that the use of screening mammograms definitely saves lives.  Its widespread use has led to the increased diagnosis of so called “ high risk lesions “  in the breast as well as Noninvasive carcinoma of the breast called Stage 0 ductal carcinoma  or DCIS.

DCIS cells in the breast are true cancer cells located entirely within the milk ducts of the breast. These cells have not traveled outside the duct and are not invasive.  A woman’s chance of dying from DCIS itself is almost Zero.

BUT.. there is always a but… if left untreated it does have the potential to become Invasive breast cancer.  It is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer, found in more than 60,000 women in the U.S. each year according to the American Cancer Society. 

Because of the risk that DCIS is a forerunner of invasive disease, treatment is recommended.

Treatment usually includes a lumpectomy, radiation therapy and possibly Tamoxifen for further prevention.   Sometimes mastectomy is advised if the DCIS is extensive throughout the breast.

The problem with DCIS is that there is no current proven way to predict which form of DCIS is more aggressive and will go on to develop invasive cancer.   

There is currently ongoing research that we hope will increase our understanding of DCIS and improve out treatments. 

If you have been diagnosed with DCIS  bring all your questions to your visit with your breast surgeon and make sure you have a full understanding of your diagnosis.