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Noninvasive breast cancer, also known as in situ breast cancer or stage 0 breast cancer, is the earliest form of the disease. Cancer cells are present, but have not spread to other parts of the breast. Noninvasive breast cancer starts in the breast lobules (lobular carcinoma) or the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma). Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is responsible for about one in five new breast cancer cases.
At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, doctors and staff use breakthrough treatments to triumph over breast cancer. Your care team includes highly trained radiation therapists and oncologists, as well as nurses, social workers, and support staff.
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Ductal carcinoma in situ rarely has any symptoms or signs. Doctors typically find this type of cancer during a mammogram. Very few women notice a nipple discharge or lump on their own.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) has no symptoms and often is not detected during routine screenings.
Ductal carcinoma in situ appears on a mammogram as small specks or clusters that doctors call microcalcifications. If detected, your doctor will order a biopsy to take a closer look at the microcalcifications. A biopsy can reveal the cancer’s hormone receptor status, grade, and type. It will also help determine if you need surgery.
Many times, doctors find lobular carcinoma in situ during a biopsy for another breast condition.
Treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ usually starts with surgery to remove the cancer in the milk duct. Lumpectomy removes the tumor and a small amount of normal tissue surrounding it. Mastectomy removes the entire breast, which may be necessary if ductal carcinoma in situ is in multiple places.
If the tumor is hormone receptor positive, hormone therapy after surgery may be an option. Hormone therapy either lowers the amount of hormones in the body or blocks hormone receptors on the cancer cells.
A mammogram is the most effective preventive measure for ductal carcinoma in situ.
Lobular carcinoma in situ doesn’t always require treatment, but increases the risk of further cancer development later in life. Your doctor may recommend observation, hormone therapy, or even prophylactic mastectomy to reduce your risk.
Dignity Health provides comprehensive screening and treatment for noninvasive breast cancer in Southern California.