Ductal carcinoma in situ is a very early stage breast cancer that is considered non-invasive. This form of the disease is highly treatable and has a very low mortality rate as compared to other forms of cancer. Researchers are finding, however, that DCIS that is inadequately addressed through excision and other means greatly increases the chances a woman will develop a more invasive form of breast cancer within a decade. The increased risk, in fact, is believed by researchers to be a whopping 50 percent.
Those findings come from a recent study that was meant to delve into the DCIS question. Some medical professionals have been concerned that this form of breast cancer was being over-diagnosed and over-treated. Some have suggested that DCIS should only be tracked through the use of mammography with action taken if, and when, it becomes necessary. The research, however, finds that the watchful waiting approach could be dangerous. Other studies have shown that recurrences after DCIS tend to present with more advanced forms of breast disease, meaning proper treatment at the onset can prove critical.
An estimated 61,000 American women are diagnosed with DCIS each year. At this stage, breast cancer has not spread beyond the ducts and is rather treatable using a variety of different options. Women who are diagnosed with this form of cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers to review all potential treatment options. Making sure the initial cancer is properly addressed can greatly reduce the risk of recurrence down the road.
More invasive forms of breast cancer strike an estimated 246,000 American women each year. Some 40,000 die from this disease annually. All women should speak with their doctors about routine screening for breast cancer. While mammograms are generally recommended in later life, other screening options, such as self-examinations, should begin much sooner.