My name is Donna Pinto. In 2010, I was completely blindsided and shocked when I was told I had DCIS, also known as “stage zero” breast cancer. I was 44 — a healthy, happy, fit mom of two young children with no signs or symptoms of anything wrong. I could not believe the alarming “cancer” treatments I was told were the standard protocol for treating women with a low-risk non-invasive “pre-cancerous” condition.
Thankfully I began researching and soon felt reassured by a handful of outspoken breast cancer experts, science-based studies, resources and support for a less rushed and less aggressive approach to DCIS. Sadly these voices of great wisdom were not being heard. The information was often overshadowed by mainstream media hype and a culture of fear around breast cancer, despite conclusive evidence of massive over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
I created DCIS 411 to help women world-wide receive the same wisdom I was emboldened by as well as to provide a space for emotional support and connection that I felt was missing in online DCIS support groups and forums.
From my experiences following my DCIS diagnosis, I went through an incredible life transformation. I was blessed to come to a new understanding about cancer (and all illness) and how the body heals and thrives. I went from being frightened, confused and anxious to feeling calm, empowered and inspired. I became an avid researcher, blogger, Certified Nutritionist, and advocate for informed decision-making and pro-active wellness practices. I felt compelled to share the wisdom I discovered and a new way forward for women to be empowered in their journeys to health, wellness and peace of mind.
Watch Inside Edition interview with Donna:
Click media for more of Donna’s story and DCIS over-treatment featured in the news.
Who is DCIS 411 for?
- Is your gut telling you something is not right with the “standard of care” one-size fits all treatments for DCIS?
- Do you feel like you are going insane dealing with the maze of doctor visits, confusion, overwhelm and statistics?
- Are you looking for support and alternative options?
- Are you interested in learning more about natural ways to reduce risk of future DCIS or invasive cancer?
How to use this website:
- Think of this website as a FREE BOOK! Explore it all and take your time!
- Read and follow steps here: DCIS — Beyond “One Size Fits All” (New 6/18)
- Read my 1st blog post “Why DCIS 411?” below and Donna’s Journey
- Holistic Health is Donna’s “mind-body-spirit” approach + resources.
- Blog is the continuation of “Donna’s Journey” from 2012 – present (scroll down).
- Watch Video of Donna’s Journey: 2009 – 2015 below:
Ways you can stay connected and receive updates:
- “Follow” DCIS 411 and receive an email alert with new posts
- “Like” DCIS 411 Facebook page
- “Follow” @dcis411 on Twitter
- DCIS Integrative Support & Empowerment
- Donna’s Choice: Global Healing From the Inside Out
- Proactive Breast Health Club
Why I co-created a 2nd website — “DCIS Redefined: Dilemmas, Choices & Integrative Solutions”
In 2010, I felt very alone and often criticized and even “bullied” for my views, questions and posts in DCIS online support forums. Where were the other women who thought and felt like me about potential over-treatment?
In 2011, I found Sandie Walters who posted a link to her story titled “DCIS Without Rads.”
Sandie and I soon became dear friends despite living thousands of miles apart. With a common passion for DCIS research, together we collaborated on: DCIS Redefined: Dilemmas, Choices & Integrative Solutions. This website is packed with studies and resources as well as a free online Pro-active Breast Health Club.
Sadly Sandie was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2015 and passed away in January 2018 from pneumonia. Sandie’s legacy will live on through the Wellness Wish-List — a scholarship fund (inspired by Sandie) for people facing a life or health challenge, and do not have the awareness or financial means for life-enhancing wellness activities, products or educational programs. Learn more about the inspiration and mission of Give Wellness at www.giveWELLNESS.life
Read Donna’s 1st post — Dec. 2011…
Why DCIS 411?
My heart sank, my head spun and my gut knew… The “standard of care” treatment options offered to me following a diagnosis of DCIS didn’t feel right. My intuition led me on a highly motivated journey of investigation.
With all the breast cancer awareness, pink campaigns and races for the cure, why had I never heard of DCIS? And, after being diagnosed, why had no one else that I told ever heard of it!
What I have since learned is that although DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) is considered “stage zero” breast cancer, it is still counted in the breast cancer statistics and accounts for 1/4 of all breast cancers diagnosed today. According to the American Cancer Society, about 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed in the United States each year, accounting for about 1 out of every 5 new breast cancer cases.
Because there is so much uncertainty around whether or not DCIS will progress to invasive cancer, treatments are extremely aggressive (as if one has invasive cancer) and there is little support for those who choose a less invasive natural healing/active surveillance approach.
This site is an on-going compilation of research which continues to enlighten my journey. What I have learned brings me peace of mind, a healthy body and a joyful spirit. I hope it can do the same for women world-wide diagnosed with DCIS and their loved ones. I am grateful beyond words to the scientists, doctors and true health advocates who provide new research, resources and insights regarding DCIS. I feel compelled to share this wealth of information with women everywhere.
Above all, DCIS 411 provides women with the latest information from credible breast cancer experts regarding DCIS — information that their doctor may not know, may not believe or may not tell them — information that is not readily available on breast cancer websites or on message boards. In order to make a truly informed decision, the information found on the Resources page is vitally important. Below are excerpts from one of the articles that has made a huge difference in my treatment choices.
Dr. Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor of surgery and radiology at UCSF and Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at UCSF states:
- “Minimal-risk lesions should not be called cancer.”
- “With DCIS, the bulk of what we find is not high grade.”
- “Only high-grade DCIS is likely to progress to invasive breast cancer.”
- “If it doesn’t look like high-grade DCIS, we should leave it alone. We would eliminate two thirds of all biopsies if we did.”
- “Currently there are sufficient data to stop and rethink the entire approach to DCIS.”
- “Less than 5% of DCIS turns out to be something else, including invasive cancer.”
- “There are now 60,000 new cases a year of DCIS in the United States. But we haven’t seen any drop in invasive cancers, despite treatment of DCIS as if it were early cancer.”
- “The burgeoning problem of DCIS is a result of mammography screening. In the days before widespread mammography, DCIS was rare. In the United States, DCIS incidence has risen from 1.87 per 100,000 in 1973 to 1975 to 32.5 in 2004, according to a recent report published online January 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.”
- “Is the purpose of mammography screening to look for DCIS? No”
- “Maybe we shouldn’t try so hard to find it — particularly low- and intermediate-grade DCIS. We need to take them out of the screening agenda.
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I look forward to connecting with you and sharing insights. ~ Donna