How are the two types of non-invasive breast cancers treated?

The 2 types of non-invasive breast cancers, lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), are treated very differently.
LCIS: Since this is not a true cancer, no immediate or active treatment is recommended for most women with LCIS. But because having LCIS increases your risk of developing invasive cancer later on, close follow-up is very important. This usually includes a yearly mammogram and a clinical breast exam. Women with LCIS may also want to talk with their doctors about the benefits and limits of being screened yearly with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to mammograms. Close follow-up of both breasts is important because women with LCIS in one breast have an equal risk of developing breast cancer on the same or opposite side.
Women with LCIS may also want to consider taking tamoxifen or raloxifene to reduce their risk of breast cancer or taking part in a clinical trial for breast cancer prevention. For more information on drugs to reduce breast cancer risk see the American Cancer Society document, Medicines to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk. They may also wish to discuss other possible prevention strategies (such as reaching an optimal body weight or starting an exercise program) with their doctor.
Some women with LCIS may choose to have a bilateral simple mastectomy (removal of both breasts but not axillary lymph nodes) to try to reduce their risk of breast cancer, especially if they have other risk factors, such as a strong family history. Depending on the woman's preference, she may consider immediate or delayed breast reconstruction.
DCIS: In most cases, a woman with DCIS can choose between breast-conserving therapy (lumpectomy, usually followed by radiation therapy) and simple mastectomy. Lymph node removal (axillary dissection) is usually not needed. Lumpectomy without radiation therapy is only an option for certain women who had small areas of low-grade DCIS that was removed with large enough cancer-free surgical margins. Most women who have a lumpectomy, however, will require radiation therapy.
Mastectomy may be necessary if the area of DCIS is very large, if the breast has several areas of DCIS, or if lumpectomy cannot completely remove the DCIS (that is, the lumpectomy specimen and re-excision specimens have cancer cells in the surgical margins). Women having a mastectomy for DCIS may have reconstruction immediately or later.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.