DCIS Diagnosis: Why Are Women So Confused?
A DCIS diagnosis by your doctor might be considered “easy to treat,” however your medical team could refer to it as something different, which often causes confusion (read more)…
In a recent post, I discussed the basics of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and described it as “non-invasive breast cancer.” However, doctors and medical staff oftentimes interchange the words “breast cancer” with other less ominous words like “pre-cancer” when discussing it with their patients.
What is DCIS?
DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer. It is often considered a pre-cursor to invasive breast cancer. DCIS is less aggressive compared to invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and has a low chance of spreading to other organs (approximately 1%). Various studies have reported that 47 – 86% of DCIS cases left untreated may never progress to invasive breast cancer (1). All of these factors may be the reason why doctors and other medical staff refer to DCIS using terms besides “breast cancer.”
A recent study found that women are often confused on their DCIS diagnosis. They are unsure if DCIS is indeed breast cancer. This is because the medical staff may refer to it using terms other than “breast cancer.” Patients have reported that their DCIS is often referred to as:
- Early breast cancer
- Non-cancerous (which, if I heard this, I would also be confused too!)
These terms, which can be interpreted by the patient as something other than breast cancer, add further anxiety about the disease.
If you are a woman diagnosed with DCIS, it is important for you to have an educated discussion with your doctor about the type of DCIS you have and if they think it can become an aggressive form of breast cancer. Here’s what you can ask:
- Do they consider DCIS carcinoma in situ, where there is a high likelihood of it developing into invasive breast cancer, or do they view DCIS as a pre-cancerous condition?
- How has your DCIS been graded? Is it high-, intermediate-, or low-grade? This information determines how your doctor interprets the potential for the disease to become invasive
Are there other questions you have? Type them in the comments below.
- Grimm L, et al. Surgical upstaging rates for vacuum assisted biopsy proven DCIS: implications for active surveillance trials. Annal Surg Oncol. 2017;24;3534.
Hi! I am Dee Grace, PhD and I am a scientist and cancer patient advocate. Our company, The Cancer Detox, helps cancer patients improve their survival outcomes by getting better care from their doctor and adding natural healing to their lifestyle. Relief, healthcare access, and improving quality of life starts here!
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