Dcis Has The Same Risk Factors As Invasive Breast Cancers
“The same things that increase a woman’s risk for DCIS are really the same things that increase her risk of invasive breast cancer,” says Dr. Meyers. For example, having a strong family history can be a factorespecially if a woman tests positive for a high-risk BRCA gene mutation.
Women who have a longer period of estrogen stimulation, meaning they started menstruation early and/or entered menopause late, also have an increased risk of DCIS as well as invasive cancer. That also goes for women who don’t have children, or who have their first pregnancy after age 30.
It Affects Cells In The Milk Ducts
Each breast has about 15 to 20 milk ducts, which, in women, act as a canal system to transport milk to nursing babies. DCIS occurs when cells in one of those milk ducts have mutated and multiplied to look like cancer cells.
About one in five newly diagnosed breast cancers is DCIS. Because those cells usually stay confined to the duct and do not spread to surrounding tissue, DCIS is also known as stage 0 breast cancer or sometimes pre-cancer.
“I make sure to tell patients that, even though DCIS has the word ‘carcinoma’ in it, it’s not actually cancer,” Marleen Meyers, MD, medical oncologist and director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center Survivorship Program at NYU Langone Health, tells Health.
“In order for something to be cancer, it has to be able to spread and grow unabated,” says Dr. Meyers. “But in the duct, it’s like being in a small tube or straw, and it usually can’t spread anywhere.”
Because of that, people shouldn’t be as frightened of DCIS as they are of invasive breast cancer, she adds. “It still comes with risks, so it should still be respected,” she says, “but really, we want to decriminalize DCIS and let patients know they shouldn’t be so scared.”
Examples Of Rates Versus Numbers
Say, town A has a population of 100,000 and town B has a population of 1,000. Over a year, say there are 100 breast cancer deaths in town A and 100 breast cancer deaths in town B.
The number of breast cancer deaths in each town is the same. However, many more people live in town A than live in town B. So, the mortality rates are quite different.
In town A, there were 10 breast cancer deaths among 100,000 people. This means the mortality rate was less than 1 percent .
In town B, the mortality rate was 10 percent .
Although the number of deaths was the same in town A and town B, the mortality rate was much higher in town B than in town A .
Lets look at another example. In 2021, its estimated among women there will be :
- 100 breast cancer deaths in Washington, D.C.
- 720 breast cancer deaths in Alabama
- 4,730 breast cancer deaths in California
Of the 3, California has the highest number of breast cancers. However, that doesnt mean it has the highest breast cancer rate. These numbers dont take into account the number of women who live in each state. Fewer women live in Alabama and Washington, D.C. than live in California.
Other factors may vary by state as well, such as the age and race/ethnicity of women. So, to compare breast cancer mortality rates, we need to look at mortality rates.
In 2021, the estimated mortality rates are :
- 26 per 100,000 women in Washington, D.C.
- 22 per 100,000 women in Alabama 22
- 19 per 100,000 women in California 20
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What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Like many conditions, risk factors for breast cancer fall into the categories of things you can control and things that you cannot control. Risk factors affect your chances of getting a disease, but having a risk factor does not mean that you are guaranteed to get a certain disease.
Controllable risk factors for breast cancer
- Alcohol consumption. The risk of breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. For instance, women who consume two or three alcoholic beverages daily have an approximately 20% higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.
- Body weight. Being obese is a risk factor for breast cancer. It is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
- Breast implants. Having silicone breast implants and resulting scar tissue make it harder to distinguish problems on regular mammograms. It is best to have a few more images to improve the examination. There is also a rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma that is associated with the implants.
- Choosing not to breastfeed. Not breastfeeding can raise the risk.
- Using hormone-based prescriptions. This includes using hormone replacement therapy during menopause for more than five years and taking certain types of birth control pills.
Non-controllable risk factors for breast cancer
Diagnoses Are Way Up In Recent Years
“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of DCIS cases diagnosed in the last 20 years,” Julia White, MD, director of breast radiation oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, tells Health.
In the 1990s, only about 15,000 to 18,000 DCIS cases were diagnosed per year, she says now, that number has grown to more than 60,000, according to the American Cancer Society. “That’s because so many women are now getting mammograms, and the technology is so good, that we pick up very small lesions,” says Dr. White.
The good news? Women are getting treated earlier than ever, which means there are fewer chances for DCIS to break out of the milk duct and become invasive. The bad news? There’s no way to tell which lesions will become invasive, so some experts say there’s a real danger of overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment.
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Outlook For People With Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Its natural to want to know your outlook, but statistics dont tell the whole story. Your breast cancer type, overall health, and many more factors beyond your control may affect treatment outcomes.
Establishing open communication with your treatment team can help you best assess where you are in your cancer journey.
Support groups can be a great source of comfort as you navigate your diagnosis through your treatment and beyond. Your doctors office or hospital can offer some suggestions and resources in your area.
How Long Does It Take For Stage 1 Breast Cancer To Develop Into Stage 2
It is not possible to determine exactly how long it will take for newly diagnosed breast cancer to progress from stage 1 to stage 2. It can happen within months if it is an aggressive high-grade tumor, or it can take longer. It’s important to know that stage 1 breast cancer could have already been present for a while before being detected, so it may progress quickly.
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What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer
Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it possibly involves your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.
Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.
What Is Stage 2 Breast Cancer
Also known as invasive breast cancer, the tumor in this stage measures between 2 cm to 5 cm, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Stage 2 breast cancer indicates a slightly more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue, and the tumor is larger than in stage 1 disease. However, stage 2 means the cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body.
At stage 2, a tumor may be detected during a breast self-exam as a hard lump within the breast. Breast self-exams and routine screening are always important and can often lead to early diagnosis, when the cancer is most treatable.
Stage 2 breast cancer is divided into two categories:
Stage 2A: One of the following is true:
- There is no tumor within the breast, but cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
- The tumor in the breast is 2 cm or smaller and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
- The tumor in the breast measures 2 cm to 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
Stage 2B: One of the following is true:
- The tumor measures 2 cm to 5 cm and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
At stage 2, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Most commonly, stage 2 breast cancer is described as:
Stage 2 breast cancer survival rate
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How To Improve Your Breast Cancer Survival Rates
While some things that influence breast cancer survival rates cannot be changed , there are several ways a patient can potentially improve his or her outcomes. For instance:
- Studies suggest that outcomes tend to be better for patients who undergo radiation therapy after surgery. Even though surgery by itself can be effective, radiation therapy can destroy residual cells that were not visible or accessible during an operation.
- Hormone therapies can help prevent recurrences in patients whose tumors are found to be hormone-receptive. Some of these therapies are only available through clinical trials patients can discuss the potential risks and benefits of participation with their treatment teams.
- The outcomes for stage 0 breast cancer are generally more favorable than the outcomes for more advanced stages of breast cancer. Although ductal carcinoma in situ does not always progress into a more invasive malignancy, treating it early before it progresses to a more advanced stage of cancer can improve a patients outcome.
Not only are there several ways to improve survival outcomes, but also quality of life outcomes as well. For instance, reconstructive surgery can be performed to improve aesthetic results after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Women who hope to breastfeed can discuss possible breast-tissue-sparing techniques with a surgeon. Additionally, supportive care services are available to help patients better manage the side effects of breast cancer treatment.
Stage 2 Breast Cancer
What is Stage 2 breast cancer?
Stage 2 breast cancer cells or tumors are larger than Stage 1 cancers, and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. There are two types of Stage 2 breast cancer:
- Stage 2A Generally speaking, Stage 2A breast cancer can indicate one of the following:
- No tumor can be found in your breast, but cancer larger than 2 millimeters can be found in one to three underarm lymph nodes or near the breastbone.
- The tumor measures 2 centimeters or smaller, and has spread the nearby axillary lymph nodes.
- The cancer has not spread to area lymph nodes, however, the tumor measures between 2 and 5 centimeters.
What are the treatment options for Stage 2 breast cancer?
Stage 2 breast cancer treatment timeline
Again, it depends on what treatments or follow-up therapies are needed. Generally, the treatment timeline for Stage 2 breast cancer can last three to six months. Again, certain treatments like hormone therapies designed to stop the cancer from coming back can last for one to 10 years.
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What Is Stage 0 Dcis
Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0 breast cancer, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if its left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally
All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.
Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.
Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.
In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.
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Breast Cancer Survival By Age
Five-year survival for female breast cancer shows an unusual pattern with age: survival gradually increases from 85% in women aged 15-39 and peaks at 92% in 60-69 year olds survival falls thereafter, reaching its lowest point of 70% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with breast cancer in England during 2009-2013.
Breast Cancer , Five-Year Net Survival by Age, Women, England, 2009-2013
Pagets Disease Of The Nipple
Pagets disease of the nipple is a rare form of breast cancer that may also be stage 0. It makes up 0.7-4.9% of breast cancers. Up to 90% of people with Pagets disease also have underlying DCIS. Pagets disease can become invasive and progress beyond stage 0. Most of these cancers are HER2-positive.
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After Dcis The Risk Of Another Cancer Is Higher
Stage 0 breast cancer still comes with risks. “When you have DCIS, it means your risk of developing another DCIS or an invasive breast cancer is higher than the general population,” says Dr. Meyers. Studies show that people with DCIS have a 1% to 2% chance of developing invasive breast cancer after a mastectomy and a slightly higher chance after a lumpectomy.
“Whatever caused the cells to mutate will generally occur in more than one ductand sometimes, those mutated cells can break through a duct and become invasive breast cancer,” adds Dr. Meyers. “We don’t know why some DCIS have the ability to do this while others don’t, so right now we want to treat all of them with at least surgery, and maybe more.”
The Tnm System For Staging Breast Cancer
The AJCCs addition of the letters T, N, and M for anatomic breast cancer staging adds more information to a breast cancer diagnosis. Heres what they mean:
- T : The tumor grade shows a higher number for a larger size or density.
- N : Nodes refers to lymph nodes and uses the numerals 0 to 3 to give information about how many lymph nodes are involved in the cancer.
- M : This refers to how the cancer has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes.
The AJCC also added clarifications in staging for ER, PR, and HER2 expression and also genetic information.
Ultimately, this means someone diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer can receive more information from their breast cancer staging than ever before.
No matter the stage, the best source of information about your individual outlook is your own oncology team.
Getting the right treatment and the support you need can help you navigate the challenges of being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
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Stage Zero Breast Cancer: Whats The Optimal Treatment For Dcis
Before the advent of routine mammography, DCIS was rarely detected. But today, DCIS accounts for 20% of breast cancer diagnoses and would be the fifth most common cancer in women if classified independently.
Often called stage zero breast cancer, DCIS growths are confined to the inside of the breasts milk ducts, and many never develop into invasive cancers. Several treatment options are available, and opinions about the optimal treatment for DCIS vary widely among doctors.
A new study from researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons may help women and their physicians narrow down the treatment choices.
DCIS is considered a pre-invasive cancer, but the current standard of care is to treat it like an early-stage invasive breast cancer, says Apar Gupta, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the study.
However, not all treatments for invasive breast cancer may be optimal for DCIS, Gupta says. His study suggests that in most cases of DCIS, the side effects of hormone therapy may outweigh its benefits.
The CUIMC Newsroom spoke with Gupta to learn how the studys findings can help providers and their patients navigate treatment for DCIS. Below are excerpts from the conversation:
Why is DCIS treatment controversial?
How does your study help women make a decision about treatment after lumpectomy?
Is there a role for hormone therapy?