Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

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.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow