“DCIS is not cancer, so why are we calling it cancer and always treating it like it is cancer?”
These are the words of Dr. Laura Esserman, Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the University of California, San Francisco. She posed this question while speaking at the Australian Breast Cancer Conference in Melbourne.
“DCIS is not an emergency,” Dr. Esserman said. “It’s something that creates an environment where cancer may arise over the next 10-20 years, yet patients are being told they need surgery in the next fortnight.”
Dr. Esserman is a member of an expert US panel advising the National Cancer Institute which, in July this year, published recommendations in the Journal of the American Medical Association that included a call to rename precancerous conditions such as DCIS.
They recommended that new terminology should be used that does not include the word “cancer” so that patients would be less fearful and less likely to have potentially unneeded and harmful treatments, including surgery and radiation.
Dr. Esserman said there was clear evidence that a watch-and-wait approach, especially if combined with medicines that prevent hormone positive breast cancer, is appropriate for low-grade DCIS.
Excerpted from article: US surgeon calls for a rethink of DCIS