Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - BeatCancer

We do appreciate your time and input

Take the survey
No results found under “

Try adjusting your type

Clear search
Resources: 0
Events: 0
    Latest resources
    View 143 resources

    9 min read

    Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

    Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

    Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) refers to a type of early-stage breast cancer where abnormal cells are found in the lining of the breast milk duct, confined to the area where they started and haven’t invaded surrounding tissues. Though non-invasive, it can progress to invasive cancer if untreated.

    The world of oncology, specifically breast cancer, comprises an array of differing types. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for both awareness and treatment. Among these types, Ductal Carcinoma, a subtype of breast cancer, holds a significant place. A deeper analysis of this entity, particularly Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS), will boost the understanding on the subject.

    Brief Overview of Breast Cancer Types

    There are several different types of breast cancer. These can be classified based on their origin, namely the ducts or the lobules, the two key parts of the breast. These types range from the fairly common to the extremely rare, and include invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, and Paget disease of the breast.

    Ductal Carcinoma as a Subgroup of Breast Cancer

    Ductal Carcinoma, as the name suggests, originates from the ducts of the breast, which transport milk from the lobules to the nipple. It is further divided into two, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), which spreads to surrounding breast tissues, and Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) which does not invade beyond the ductal wall.

    Significance of Understanding Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Being privy to DCIS is pivotal because it is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS is often deemed as a precursor to invasive breast cancer and thereby, early detection and proper understanding can potentially prevent its progression.

    Understanding Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Definition of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) refers to the condition where abnormal cells are found exclusively within the lining of the breast ducts, and have not spread to nearby tissues. Being a non-invasive type, it is considered an early form of breast cancer.

    The Relevance of the Term “in Situ”

    The term “in situ” comes from Latin, meaning “in its place”. In medical oncology, it’s used to describe cancer in which abnormal cells have not crossed the boundaries of their origin. In context of DCIS, it means the abnormal cells remain contained within the ducts.

    Anatomical perspective: Where does DCIS occur?

    DCIS occurs in the milk ducts of the breast. These are the pathways that bring milk from the lobules, where it’s made, to the nipple. The carcinoma is termed ‘in situ’ because the cancerous cells remain ‘in place’, that is, within the ducts, without spreading to nearby tissue.

    Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Prevalence of DCIS

    The prevalence of DCIS has seen a significant rise over the past few decades, largely due to the increased usage of mammographic screening. It accounts for approximately 20-25% of all breast cancer cases diagnosed.

    General Risk Factors

    General risk factors for breast cancer, inclusive of DCIS, range from age, gender, family history and genetics, to lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, obesity, and lack of physical activity.

    Specific Risk Factors for DCIS

    For DCIS, in particular, hormone replacement therapy, especially combined estrogen-progestin therapy, and past radiation therapy to the chest area are considered influential risk factors.

    Clinical Manifestations and Diagnosis of DCIS

    Signs and Symptoms

    Often, DCIS does not present with any evident symptoms. Occasionally, a lump or bloody nipple discharge might be noticed. Mostly, DCIS is picked up during routine mammogram screenings even before any symptoms appear.

    Diagnosis Process:Mammography and Biopsy

    DCIS is usually diagnosed during a routine mammogram which often highlights microcalcifications, small deposits of calcium that may indicate the presence of DCIS. After the mammogram, if DCIS is suspected, a biopsy sampling the suspicious tissue is performed to confirm the diagnosis by analysing the cells for cancerous changes.

    Staging and Grading of DCIS

    DCIS is classified according to the amount of cell growth and variation from normal cells. Known as grading, DCIS can fall into three categories: low, intermediate, or high grade. While it is not typically staged (as it is non-invasive), its size, growth rate, and cell characteristics guide treatment decisions.

    Treatment Modalities for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

    Overview of Treatment Options

    The primary treatments for DCIS include surgery—either a lumpectomy or mastectomy—often combined with radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These usually depend on the grade, size, and location of the DCIS, as well as patient preferences and overall health status.

    Surgical Procedures: Lumpectomy and Mastectomy

    Lumpectomy involves removing the DCIS and a small area of normal tissue around it, whereas mastectomy entails the removal of the entire breast containing DCIS. A sentinel lymph node biopsy may also be done to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

    Radiation Therapy

    Following a lumpectomy, radiation therapy is often used to eliminate any remaining DCIS cells. It reduces the risk of recurrence, but it comes with a potential set of side effects including skin changes and fatigue.

    Hormone Therapy

    If the DCIS cells are found to be hormone-receptor-positive (which most are), hormone therapy using drugs like Tamoxifen might be advised to block the effects of hormones on the breast cancer cells. This helps in preventing the recurrence of DCIS or the development of invasive breast cancers.

    The Prognosis and Future of DCIS Management

    Survival Rates and Overall Prognosis

    The survival rate of DCIS is extremely high due to its non-invasive nature, and timely and effective treatments. Nearly all patients with DCIS can expect to live a normal life span.

    Clinical Trials and Advancements in Treatment

    Clinical trials are continuously investigating novel ways to treat DCIS, including the development of new drugs, surgical techniques and more targeted radiation therapies. These aim to improve the benefits of treatment and reduce side-effects.

    Post-recovery: Follow-up care and Lifestyle Modifications

    Post DCIS treatment, regular follow-up care including mammograms, breast exams, and other tests are crucial to monitor recovery and watch for a recurrence. Embracing a healthier lifestyle such as a balanced diet, regular physical activity and cessation of smoking can markedly help in recovery and prevention of recurrence.


    Recap on the Importance of Early Detection

    Early detection and understanding of DCIS is pivotal. Timely mammograms and awareness about the symptoms are key to early identification and successful treatment of DCIS, thereby preventing its possible progression to invasive cancer.

    Support and Resources for Patients with DCIS

    A diagnosis of DCIS, just like any other form of cancer, can be challenging. There are resources available that provide support, including counseling services, online communities, and cancer support groups. Your healthcare provider can provide information on these resources.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. What is the primary difference between Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)?

    The primary difference lies in how far the cancer cells have spread. In DCIS, the cancer cells remain within the ducts, whereas in IDC, the cells have spread beyond the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue.

    2. Is Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) considered pre-cancer or actual cancer?

    DCIS is considered a form of non-invasive or pre-invasive cancer. While the cells are cancerous, they remain contained within the ducts and haven’t yet invaded surrounding tissues.

    3. Are there any lifestyle changes that can help prevent DCIS?

    While there’s no sure way to prevent DCIS, certain changes like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, limiting alcohol and not smoking can lessen your overall risk of breast cancer.

    4. If I have DCIS, does it mean I will definitely develop invasive cancer?

    Not necessarily. While DCIS can sometimes progress to invasive cancer, it doesn’t always do so. Timely treatment can often eliminate DCIS and reduce the risk of invasive cancer.

    5. How often should I get a mammogram if I’ve been diagnosed with DCIS?

    Your healthcare provider will guide you, but typically, you should have a mammogram every six to twelve months after treatment.

    6. What are the side effects of treatment for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)?

    Side effects vary depending on the treatment. Surgery may cause pain and impact body image. Radiation therapy can cause skin changes, swelling and fatigue. Hormone therapy may lead to menopausal symptoms.

    You might also like

    Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson

    Mitch Albom


    (978,435 ratings)

    Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Memoir
    • Inspirational

    The Breast Cancer Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Woman with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer

    John Link


    (158 ratings)

    One of the most comprehensive and bestselling books on breast cancer treatment and survival, completely revised and updated

    • Cancer
    • Health
    • Medical Guide
    • Women's Health

    When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

    Pema Chödrön


    (52,911 ratings)

    In the face of life's most challenging moments, when fear, anxiety, and pain threaten to overwhelm us, Pema Chödrön presents a radical yet profoundly transformative approach to living our lives.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Buddhism
    • Self-help

    The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

    Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams


    (54,273 ratings)

    In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Happiness
    • Spirituality

    Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

    Jon Kabat-Zinn


    (46,471 ratings)

    Its message, rooted in the art of mindfulness, encourages individuals to live fully in the present moment. With gentle yet profound insights, the book teaches us to be fully present in our lives, regardless of our surroundings or situations.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Mindfulness
    • Meditation
    The Emperor of All Maladies A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    Siddhartha Mukherjee


    (98,621 ratings)

    An award-winning exploration of cancer's intricate history and humanity's relentless fight against it. From ancient origins to modern breakthroughs, Siddhartha Mukherjee's Pulitzer Prize-winning book reveals the captivating, inspiring, and sometimes sobering tale of 'The Emperor of All Maladies.'

    • Oncology
    • Cancer
    • Health
    • Biography
    Living with Cancer A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis by Vicki A. Jackson

    Living with Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

    Vicki A. Jackson, David P. Ryan, Michelle D. Seaton


    (39 ratings)

    A comprehensive and compassionate guide for patients and families living with the physical and emotional effects of cancer.

    • Cancer
    • Health
    • Medicine
    • Self-help

    Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

    Brené Brown


    (201,590 ratings)

    From thought leader Brené Brown, a transformative new vision for the way we lead, love, work, parent, and educate that teaches us the power of vulnerability.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Psychology
    • Self-help

    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    Atul Gawande


    (180,322 ratings)

    Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and the Chicago Tribune, "Being Mortal" is a poignant and enlightening exploration of the intersection between medicine and the inescapable realities of aging and death.

    • Health
    • Medicine
    • End-of-Life Care

    Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

    Cheryl Strayed


    (109,068 ratings)

    This book is a poignant reminder that in our shared humanity, we encounter moments of vulnerability, confusion, and pain. Cheryl Strayed's words serve as a beacon of hope, guiding readers towards self-discovery, healing, and a deeper understanding of the human experience.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Self-help
    • Advice

    Get to know
    us better!!

    If you are reading this, you are in the right place - we do not care who you are and what you do, press the button and follow discussions live!!