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Summary

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ is a form of pre-malignant breast cancer. With appropriate treatment, these tumors can be very effectively con-trolled, and will have a very low death rate due to cancer.

  • Because DCIS is not yet invasive, it does not have the ability to spread to the lymph nodes of the axilla and to the rest of the body.

  • If not treated, DCIS may progress to invasive breast cancer.

  • Comedocarcinoma is one subtype of DCIS. It tends to be more aggres-sive than the other forms of DCIS, but with effective treatment will also have a very high cure rate.

  • There are several treatment options for small, solitary tumors of DCIS-- lumpectomy alone, lumpectomy and radiation, or simple mastectomy.

  • For slightly larger lesions, and comedocarcinomas, without evidence of multifocal lesions, there are two options, lumpectomy and radiation therapy or simple mastectomy.

  • Very large lesions and extensive or multifocal lesions are best treated with simple mastectomy, and should not be considered for any form of breast sparing treatment.

  • Because DCIS does not spread to the axillary lymph nodes, there is no need to perform lymph node surgery as part of the treatment.

  • DCIS does not spread to the rest of the body, so chemotherapy and other drug treatment is not necessary for this disease.

  • Patients who have had DCIS treated sucessfully in one breast are at risk of developing cancer in their opposite breast, and require life-long follow-up care.