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About 1 in 5 new breast cancers will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Nearly all women with this early stage of breast cancer can be cured.
DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma or stage 0 breast cancer. DCIS is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. This means the cells that line the ducts have changed to cancer cells but they have not spread through the walls of the ducts into the nearby breast tissue.
Because DCIS hasn’t spread into the breast tissue around it, it can’t spread (metastasize) beyond the breast to other parts of the body.
However, DCIS can sometimes become an invasive cancer. At that time, the cancer has spread out of the duct into nearby tissue, and from there, it could metastasize to other parts of the body.
Right now, there’s no good way to know for sure which will become invasive cancer and which ones won’t, so almost all women with DCIS will be treated.
In most cases, a woman with DCIS can choose between breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and simple mastectomy. Radiation is usually given after BCS. Tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor after surgery might also be an option if the DCIS is hormone-receptor positive.
See Treatment for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) to learn more.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Corben AD and Brogi E. Chapter 21: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and Other Intraductal Lesions: Pathology, Immunohistochemistry, and Molecular Alterations. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2014.
Henry NL, Shah PD, Haider I, Freer PE, Jagsi R, Sabel MS. Chapter 88: Cancer of the Breast. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2020.
Jagsi R, King TA, Lehman C, Morrow M, Harris JR, Burstein HJ. Chapter 79: Malignant Tumors of the Breast. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2019.
National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Breast Cancer Treatment – Health Professional Version. 2021. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-treatment-pdq on August 30, 2021.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Breast Cancer. Version 7.2021. Accessed at https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/breast.pdf on August 30, 2021.
Van Zee KJ, White J, Morrow M, and Harris JR. Chapter 23: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and Microinvasive Carcinoma. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins; 2014.
Last Revised: November 19, 2021