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Ductal Carcinoma (Invasive and In Situ)

How is ductal carcinoma in situ treated? continued...

Most women with DCIS don't have the breast removed with a mastectomy. Instead, they have breast-conserving surgery.

Most common is a lumpectomy followed by radiation. In a lumpectomy, the surgeon removes the cancer and a small area of healthy tissue around it. The tissue is taken to make sure all the cancer cells have been removed. Lymph nodes under the arm don’t need to be removed as they are with other types of breast cancer.

After lumpectomy, radiation significantly reduces the likelihood that the cancer will come back. If cancer does return, it’s called recurrence. Radiation can be given to the entire breast, or it can be taken internally to target certain areas of the breast.

Some women with an extremely low likelihood of cancer recurrence may have a lumpectomy only. This may be an option for older women with small tumors whose surgery showed large amounts of healthy tissue on all sides of the cancer. Discuss the risks of not having radiation with your doctor before deciding against it.

You and your doctors may decide that a mastectomy to remove the breast is the best course of treatment if you have any of the following:

  • A strong family history of breast cancer
  • A gene mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer
  • Very large areas of DCIS
  • DCIS lesions located in multiple areas throughout your breast
  • Inability to tolerate radiation therapy

You and your treatment team may also consider the use of hormone therapy. It may reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer not only in the breast with cancer, but in the opposite breast as well. This risk reduction continues even after you stop taking the medication.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

IDC accounts for about 80% of all invasive breast cancers in women and 90% in men.

Like DCIS, it begins in the milk ducts. But unlike DCIS, invasive ductal carcinoma is not contained. Instead, it grows through the duct walls and into the surrounding breast tissue. And it can spread to other parts of your body.

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