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.