Your surgeon may talk to you about having one of these operations:
- breast-conserving surgery – this is where the DCIS and some surrounding normal breast tissue is removed
- a mastectomy – this when the whole breast is removed.
Most women have breast-conserving surgery. Breast-conserving surgery aims to keep as much of the breast and its shape as possible.
Sometimes, you are advised to have the whole breast removed (mastectomy). If you have a mastectomy, you will also have a sentinel lymph node biopsy. This is a way of checking a few lymph nodes in the armpit for cancer cells.
Some women also have surgery to make a new breast shape (breast reconstruction) during the operation. Others choose to have this done at a later time.
If you have DCIS that is oestrogen-receptor (ER) positive, your doctor may talk to you about having hormonal therapy. Some ER positive women may have hormone therapy before their operation. This shrinks the cancer so that you can have breast conserving surgery instead of a mastectomy.
It is important that the possible benefits are weighed up against the side effects of the hormonal therapy drugs. Your cancer doctor can explain the possible benefits and side effects in your situation.
Doctors are researching whether it is possible for women with low grade DCIS to have less treatment. Your cancer doctor or specialist nurse can give you more information about research trials that may be suitable for you.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
European Society for Medical Oncology. Primary breast cancer: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of oncology 26 (supplement 5): v8–v30. 2015.
Morrow M, et al. Chapter 79: malignant tumors of the breast. DeVita, Hellman and Rosenberg’s cancer: principals and practice of oncology (10th edition). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2014.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Early and locally advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and management. July 2018.
Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. SIGN 134. Treatment of primary breast cancer: a national clinical guideline. September 2013.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor J Michael Dixon, Professor of Surgery & Consultant Surgeon.
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