Most Women Need More Tests After Lumpectomy for DCIS

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DCIS is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS usually is treated by removing the cancer with surgery -- lumpectomy (breast conserving surgery) in most cases. Very few women choose mastectomy to remove DCIS. After lumpectomy, many women get radiation therapy. If the DCIS is hormone-receptor-positive (most are), hormonal therapy medicine also may be recommended.

A study has found that most women who had lumpectomy to remove DCIS needed more procedures -- diagnostic mammograms and/or biopsies -- on the same breast in the 10 years after lumpectomy. Diagnostic mammograms are different than screening mammograms. Diagnostic mammograms are done when a suspicious area already has been found and take more images of the breast than screening mammograms.

The results were published online on April 5, 2012 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Read the abstract of Ten-Year Risk of Diagnostic Mammograms and Invasive Breast Procedures After Breast-Conserving Surgery for DCIS.

Researchers studied information from 2,948 women diagnosed with DCIS between 1990 and 2001. All the women chose lumpectomy to remove the DCIS. Up to 10 years of follow-up information was available.

In the years after lumpectomy:

  • 907 women (30.8%) had 1,422 diagnostic mammograms of the breast where DCIS had been removed
  • 1,813 women (61.5%) had 2,305 biopsies of the breast where DCIS had been removed

Because follow-up time was different for each woman, the researchers performed a statistical analysis on the information to estimate a woman's risk of needing a diagnostic mammogram and/or a biopsy of the breast where DCIS had been removed within 10 years after lumpectomy:

  • 76.1% of women would have a diagnostic mammogram, or a biopsy, or both
  • 41.0% of women would have at least one diagnostic mammogram
  • 65.7% of women would have one biopsy

If you've been diagnosed with DCIS, you and your doctor should discuss the type of surgery that makes the most sense for you. Based on this study, it's a good idea to ask your doctor about the likelihood that you'll need diagnostic mammograms and/or biopsies in the future if you choose lumpectomy. After surgery, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific risk of recurrence for DCIS or invasive breast cancer. Your treatment plan may include radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, both, or neither. Together, you can decide on a treatment plan that makes the most sense for you and your unique situation.

The Breastcancer.org DCIS pages contain more information on DCIS symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

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