Skip to content

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment Options

When needed, treatment for stage 0 breast cancer is usually very successful. The five-year survival rate is about 93%. Treatments differ depending on what kind of stage 0 cancer you have.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is one type. In this condition, abnormal cells appear in the ducts of the breast. This type of breast cancer is being seen more often, partly because of increased use of mammogram screenings. Sometimes, these cells become invasive cancer. That's why it's key to get treatment now. Here's a list of the typical treatments:

Recommended Related to Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Survivor Stories

These four women lead very different lives, but they all have one thing in common: They developed breast cancer at a young age. They discovered community within the Young Survival Coalition, a national organization dedicated to providing support to young women with breast cancer -- and raising awareness of the disease in women under 40.

Read the Breast Cancer Survivor Stories article > >

  • Surgery is a standard. For smaller tumors, you might get a lumpectomy, in which only the abnormal cells and some of the breast tissue are removed. Some women choose a mastectomy, in which the entire breast is removed. After a mastectomy, you might choose to have breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Radiation therapy is standard treatment after a lumpectomy. Radiation therapy attacks any abnormal cells that might have been missed and decreases the risk of another breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy with tamoxifen after surgery may also help prevent cancer from developing in the same or opposite breast if the breast cancer is found to be responsive to hormone therapy.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is the other type of stage 0 breast cancer. LCIS develops when abnormal cells appear in the lobes of the breast.

With LCIS, there may be no palpable tumor, no consistent changes on mammography, and it often is found when doing a breast biopsy for something else. The risk of developing an invasive cancer in the future is increased in both breasts. Most women don't need treatment right away. It's key to have frequent checkups with your doctor. Here are some treatment options:

  • Hormone therapy with tamoxifen or raloxifene to lower the risk of developing invasive cancer.
  • Bilateral mastectomy -- the removal of both breasts -- is another option. Some women choose this approach because they are worried about getting cancer. They might have certain risk factors, like a strong family history of breast cancer. After surgery, you might choose to get breast reconstruction surgery. However, many experts think that a bilateral mastectomy is a more extreme approach than women usually need.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on February 20, 2012

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