Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on December 10, 2019

Depending on which of the two forms of type 0 breast cancer you have, you may not need treatment. If you do, it’s usually very successful.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is when abnormal cells appear in the breast ducts. The words in situ mean “in the original place.” It’s possible for the cells to turn into invasive cancer, meaning they spread into healthy tissue. That's why you should get treatment right away.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is when abnormal cells appear in the lobes of the breast, but nowhere else. You may not feel a tumor, and there may not be any changes in your mammogram. It’s often found during a breast biopsy for something else. Women with LCIS need to see a doctor often for checkups and to discuss if any treatment is needed. LCIS increases the risk of developing a cancer in either breast that can spread.


Typical DCIS treatments are:

Surgery. For smaller DCIS tumors, you might get a lumpectomy, in which the abnormal cells and some breast tissue are removed. Some women decide to have a mastectomy, in which the breast is removed. After a mastectomy, you might choose to have breast reconstruction surgery.

Radiation therapyusually follows a lumpectomy. The radiation attacks any abnormal cells that might have been missed and lowers the risk of getting another breast cancer.

Hormone therapy after surgery may also help prevent more cancer from developing in either breast.

Treatments for LCIS are:

Hormone therapy to lower the risk of developing invasive cancer.

Double mastectomy. Surgery is sometimes performed to remove tissue in the area of the LCIS.  Some women at high risk for breast cancer choose to have a double mastectomy, the removal of both breasts, because they’re worried about getting an invasive cancer.They might have a strong family history of breast cancer, or they might have genetic mutations called BRCA1 or BRCA2. After surgery, some women choose to have breast reconstruction surgery.

Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.

WebMD Medical Reference



American Cancer Society. “Treatment for LCIS.”

National Comprehensive Cancer Network: "Guidelines for Patients: Stage 0 Breast Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Breast Cancer PDQ: Treatment, Health Professional Version," "Breast Cancer PDQ: Treatment, Patient Version," "Understanding Breast Cancer: A Guide for Patients," "What You Need to Know about Breast Cancer."

UptoDate: “Atypia and lobular carcinoma in situ: High risk lesions of the breast.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.