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Mile High Natural Awakenings

DCIS − Is It Really Breast Cancer?

by Tanya Harter Pierce

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is a common breast cancer diagnosis. In fact, it is so common that it accounts for 20-25% of all breast cancer diagnoses in the United States. But is it really

DCIS is a diagnosis that is given when abnormal or atypical cells are detected in one or more of the milk ducts of a woman’s breast. The “In Situ” part means the abnormal cells are “in place” and have not spread outside the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. However, beyond that, there appear to be two conflicting definitions as to what DCIS really is. Many doctors and medical sites describe it as an “early form of breast cancer” while other doctors and resources refer to it as a “pre-cancerous” state that might turn into cancer at some point. Yet, countless women who receive this diagnosis are told they have breast cancer and many are scared into
extreme treatment procedures that include mastectomy, radiation, and/or hormone-blocking therapy - all of which can cause significant negative side effects.

The late Dr. John R. Lee, world-renowned women’s hormones expert and author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, wrote that DCIS is a condition involving abnormal cells that may turn into cancer, but have not yet done so. He went on to explain that DCIS is essentially a benign condition where only a small fraction of cases will go on to become malignant cancer. Dr. Marleen Meyers, oncologist and director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center Survivorship Program at NYU Langone Health is quoted as saying, “I make sure to tell patients that, even though DCIS has the word ‘carcinoma’ in it, it’s not actually cancer.”

Well-known OB/GYN, Dr. Christiane Northrup, says, “… DCIS is NOT cancer, though many doctors consider it to be Stage 0 cancer. And, depending upon what advice a woman is then given, she may be advised to get treatment, which she rarely needs. This is a shame because 99.9 percent of the time DCIS is something a woman will die with but not die from!”

How likely is it that DCIS will turn into cancer? It seems this is difficult to assess with various sources suggesting widely varying guesses. But the real issue is the starting definition and whether DCIS, when first diagnosed, is cancer or not. The concern here is that great fear goes along with this very common “cancer” diagnosis and risky treatment procedures are often
recommended. Being as informed as possible may reduce the fear and allow a woman to feel she has time to look into the issues for herself and possibly get a second or even third medical opinion.

Tanya Harter Pierce, M.A. MFT, is the author of Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work.
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