The DCIS Dilemma

Yesterday’s news was filled with seemingly conflicting interpretations of and responses to a new study in JAMA Oncology that looked at breast cancer deaths following a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), alternately referred to as a precancer or stage 0 breast cancer.

25-DCIS-600x200The varied take-aways to the study by reporters aren’t surprising. They reflect the state-of-the-state when it comes to treating DCIS.

With mammography’s introduction as a screening tool in the late 1970s and early 1980s, DCIS diagnoses began to increase rapidly. Today, DCIS is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in women. If left untreated, some DCIS lesions will go on to become invasive cancers, while others will never leave the duct. But despite decades of effort, doctors can’t yet tell a woman which type she has. As a result, breast specialists recommend all DCIS be treated with surgery, often followed by radiation and hormone therapy.

You can learn more about DCIS in my article The DCIS Dilemma in the summer issue of Cancer Today.

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