DCIS stands for Ductal Carcinoma
in situ and means that there abnormal cells in the milk ducts of the breast. This has not spread into any other breast tissue. Before breast screening took places a diagnosis of DCIS was rare but now it is common. DCIS looks like specks of white (calcium) on a mammogram.
When doctors look at DCIS under the microscope they can split it into different grades – high, intermediate and low. High grade DCIS cells look more like invasive breast cancer cells. Because high grade is more likely to turn into breast cancer, it is treated as though it is. Many doctors are uncertain if low or intermediate DCIS would ever become invasive breast cancer. Some feel that it needs watching, but doesn’t need urgent treatment as if it was breast cancer.
The choice to treat or not should belong to you but you need lots of information and support from your specialists to help you arrive at this decision. Alternatively you may prefer to leave such a choice to the professional looking after you. Again though, this is your decision.
You can keep up with the latest research being conducted about treatment of DCIS through the LORIS trial . We’d like to thank Lucy Matthews from the Loris Trial for her help in putting together this information.