Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this time our blogs will focus on breast cancer awareness and educational efforts. To kick off our month of breast cancer related content we talk about a term that come up a lot in this topic, DCIS.
Referred to by doctors as ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS is what we call a non-invasive form of breast cancer. But what does that mean? Well, DCIS refers to cancer that forms in the milk duct that has not yet spread to beyond that area. DCIS is not life threatening, but being diagnosed with it increases the chances of developing an invasive breast cancer later on in life.
Having DCIS puts patients at a higher risk for the cancer to return or for developing a new breast cancer. Most of these reoccurrences, which occur less than 30% of the time, happen within 5 to 10 years of an initial DCIS diagnosis.
The most effective treatment for this type of cancer is a breast conserving surgery known as a lumpectomy. Some doctors, depending on the severity of the DCIS diagnosis, will recommend that their patients receive radiation therapy as well.
There are about 60,000 DCIS diagnoses in the United States each year according to the American Cancer Society. This accounts for nearly 1 out of every 5 new breast cancer cases annually. Many women who have DCIS are not treated soon enough because they do not take advantage of regular screening examinations.
DCIS can only be diagnosed through mammograms. Women who do not follow breast cancer screening guidelines may go without having their DCIS diagnosed, resulting in the possibility of the cancer progressing and spreading to the rest of the breast.
Regular breast cancer screenings are incredibly important. These screenings allow for early detection of breast cancer before it is able to spread. Early detection means that breast preserving operative procedures are realistic means of treatment. If you have any questions regarding DCIS or if you would like to schedule a breast cancer screening then feel free to contact our office!