What Is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)?

Ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, is an early stage of breast cancer where the cancer is confined in the ducts. In this video Dr. Harness explains the different types of DCIS and the treatment options available.

Jay K. Harness, MD: Ductal carcinoma in situ, shorthand DCIS.  Ductal carcinoma in situ.  What is it?  It’s the earliest kind of breast cancer.  It means that the cancer is confined inside the tube that are your ducts.  Think of your ductal system in your breast is like a branching flower or a tree where there are interconnecting ducts and the cancer is confined inside, usually just one ductal system.  Now the good news with DCIS is that it’s curable with the kind of treatments that we are doing.  The good news with ductal carcinoma in situ is you don’t need chemotherapy and there are different kinds of DCIS that I would like to explain right now and of course as always there are different treatment options for DCIS.  So what is DCIS as far as the grades?  So we have well differentiated or another term is low-grade, intermediate differentiation or grade 2 is another example of how that is described and high-grade DCIS.  The lower the grade, typically the more benign the course of the in situ breast cancer and high grade DCIS can be something that is quite worrisome and more difficult to manage.  So then down the way you know what the grades are and you want to have this information with you and copies of your pathology report.  We then get into what are the treatment options for in situ breast cancer for DCIS and typically those treatment options are the same as they are for in invasive breast cancer, namely breast conservation versus mastectomy and in subsequent videos I will be talking about the good news and the bad news with each of those approaches.  So as part of your educational process, you want to know about your DCIS, the grade of it, you want to know what the markers are the estrogen and progesterone markers, and you are going to want to know about the extent of the disease as all these factors come together to help to personalize the treatment decision we make for your DCIS.

Dr. Jay K. Harness is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer Answers.com, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

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