An article published this week could re-raise concerns about women diagnosed with ductal cancer in situ (DCIS). This is cancer of the breast milk ducts. This type of breast cancer is generally non-invasive, which means it is only found in the milk duct. In some cases, however, the tumor grows beyond the duct, making it invasive.
The study, published on the JAMA Network Open and conducted by the Women & # 39; s College Research Institute at Women & # 39; s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada, looked at the number of deaths from breast cancer in women diagnosed with DCIS between 1995 and 2014 was that those with DCIS had a significantly higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who did not have DCIS. The researchers said the risk tripled.
A similar study by the Women's College Hospital published in 2015 showed comparable results. This current study "is really an update" and "part of a larger project" to better understand breast cancer, said Dr. Steven Narod, a researcher in the 2020 and 2015 studies. However, the current study also showed that "these results suggest that current treatment for DCIS does not eliminate the risk of breast cancer mortality."
A word about DCIS
DCIS is often felt as a lump in the breast and can be diagnosed with a mammogram. A suspicious mammogram will result in a biopsy of the suspicious area. DCIS can be handled by
Lumpectomy, which removes only the cancerous area, followed by radiation therapy or mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast.
If the DCIS is confined to the canal, chemotherapy is not required. More aggressive treatment may be needed in women under 40 years of age and women with advanced stages of DCIS as they are more likely to develop cancer again.
What the researchers found suggests that black women and women under 40 were at higher risk of dying from breast cancer. This is the same information from the study 5 years ago.
According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), white women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and black women are more likely to die from breast cancer. The reasons for this are complicated, and more research is being conducted to find out more about these differences.
The JAMA 2020 study researchers found that women who received radiation therapy after a lumpectomy lived longer than those who only had a lumpectomy. Those who had a mastectomy most likely had large advanced tumors.
The 2015 study
This study included women who were diagnosed under the age of 35 and women who were diagnosed with DCIS between 1988 and 2011. No evidence of reduced screening or inadequate treatment attributable to the increased number of deaths in black women was found.
Dr. Narod said the results of both studies agree that with DCIS, age of diagnosis and race are factors associated with the increased deaths.
In other words, black women are more likely to die from breast cancer, and the likelihood of developing breast cancer increases as they age. Women diagnosed under the age of 40 are therefore more likely to get breast cancer again.
Based on these results, the researchers did not recommend any changes in the treatment of DCIS. They also did not recommend the routine addition of chemotherapy for DCIS patients, as the lifelong risk of death from DCIS is 3%. The real problem is figuring out which patients are at greatest risk of death after a DCIS diagnosis.
Yvonne Stolworthy MSN, RN graduated from Nursing School in 1984 and has had a varied career. Many years have been spent in intensive care. She has been an educator in a variety of settings including clinical trials. She is currently applying her nursing knowledge to health journalism.