Personalizing Your DCIS Breast Cancer Treatment (STAGE 0)

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a very early non-invasive cancer that is treatable. Cancer cells are contained in the milk ducts and have not spread to the surrounding breast tissue or distant sites.
  • It is estimated that only about 20-30% of DCIS patients go on to develop invasive breast cancer.1
  • You have time. Take the time to consider your care and treatment.
  • You can take charge. What is best for one woman is often not right for another. You should take an active role in learning as much as possible about your breast cancer diagnosis and your available treatment options, including the success rates and side effects of each option, before making a decision about what is best for you.

After a diagnosis of DCIS, the first step is usually surgery to remove the DCIS tumor. The next step is to determine the risk that your breast cancer will return in the same breast (called local recurrence), either as DCIS or as invasive breast cancer. This assessment, along with your age and medical history, will be used to help you and your doctor choose the most appropriate treatment for you. It is also important to consider such personal concerns as your work/life priorities, fertility issues, and tolerance for risk. Recommended therapies may include:

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy Benefits

Radiation therapy is a highly effective and relatively safe way to destroy cancer cells that may still remain in your breast after surgery. In radiation therapy, a special kind of high-energy beam is delivered to the cancer cells either externally by a machine or internally by implanted pellets or seeds. If you have a lumpectomy, you will almost certainly be recommended radiation therapy. If you have a mastectomy, you might also receive radiation, depending on the size of your tumor or the extent of your cancer.

If you are pregnant, or unable to commit to a daily treatment schedule for several weeks, you are not a candidate for radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy Risks

Radiation treatment is painless when administered, but can result in side effects that typically go away within several weeks of ending treatment. Some of the most common side effects are:

  • Fatigue
  • Lowered white blood cell counts
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Skin sensitivity and discoloration
  • Armpit and/or chest discomfort 

What DCIS treatment is right for you?
The Oncotype DX breast cancer test can help you decide.

The Oncotype DX test can aid your doctor in determining the likelihood that your individual cancer will come back (recurrence), helping you to select the appropriate treatment for you following surgery.


Hormonal Therapy

Hormonal Therapy Benefit

If you have hormone receptor-positive (either ER+ or PR+) DCIS breast cancer, you might receive hormonal therapy along with radiation therapy after surgery to lower the risk of your breast cancer from returning or spreading to a new site. Hormonal treatments are designed to block or lower the levels of the hormones in your body that stimulate the growth of your breast cancer.

Hormonal Therapy Risks

Hormonal treatments can lead to side effects similar to menopause as well as: 

  • Hot flashes or flushes
  • Aches and pains in the muscles and joints
  • Nausea
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility issues
  • Increased risk of uterine cancer

Genomic Testing with Oncotype DX -- Take Charge of your Cancer Journey

If you have been diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer, the Oncotype DX breast cancer test may be appropriate for you. Oncotype DX is a genomic breast cancer test that looks at the activity of certain genes in your tumor and provides personalized information that is not available from any other test or measure.

  • If you have early-stage invasive breast cancer, the Oncotype DX test is the only genomic test shown to predict the likelihood that you will benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy, while also determining the chance that your breast cancer will return. 
  • If you have DCIS, the Oncotype DX test can help to determine the risk of your cancer returning locally – a key factor in deciding your treatment after surgery.

Along with the information in your pathology report and other factors, your Oncotype DX test results can help you and your doctor select the best treatment path for you.

1 Diseases of the Breast, 4th edition, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2010: Chapter 26: Ductal carcinoma in situ and microinvasive carcinoma.