Before the results of my biopsy, I had read about DCIS. I remember one doctor talking about how women freak out when they're told they have DCIS because they feel they just got a cancer diagnosis. So when the doctor said those words to me, I didn't freak out as much as I could have. I was like, oh, ok, well, it could be worse, right? (Don't get me wrong, I freaked out pretty nicely- notice I said I didn't freak out as much as I could have- I still had plenty left to give at the end of my freak out session.)
Then I came home and started researching and I got sick to my stomach- it IS cancer I learned. And then more reading, it ISN'T as bad as I thought. Then I started researching my treatment options- gulp, mastectomy. I got upset again, but I want to really know what I'm looking at. Then I read that 60,000 women a year are getting mastectomies and perhaps this form of treatment is too aggressive. So confusing!!!!
I have been reading a lot about estrogen- I don't have the energy to tackle that topic right now, but I'm looking forward to all my appointments coming up soon to see if I can't get myself back in balance. I know one thing, I am not jumping into any surgery in the immediate future, and I plan to collect a LOT of opinions, including my own internal one.
So, is DCIS actually cancer? The answer is yes, because DCIS is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. On the other hand, it is a cancer that doesn't behave like most cancers. DCIS hasn't started to break through normal tissue, which means it's not life-threatening like cancer.
From the National Cancer Institute:
Some people include DCIS in breast cancer statistics. (Emphasis added by me.)
From the Mayo Clinic:
Although DCIS is an early form of breast cancer, it's noninvasive, meaning it hasn't spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast. Some experts consider DCIS to be a "preinvasive" condition. DCIS is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer.
It is important to remember that although DCIS should be treated to prevent it developing into an invasive breast cancer, it is not harmful at this stage.
'Doctors should make it clear that DCIS is not cancer; it is only a possible precancer,' says Dr Eric Wiener, head of breast oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
The calcifications are believed to be the precursors of cancer, but they are not in themselves cancerous. Nevertheless, they are somewhat misleadingly called ‘carcinomas in situ’ (CIS), which means ‘cancers in place’.
...you’ve been diagnosed with a type of breast cancer that latest statistics show is 98% to 99% curable.
Technically DCIS is not cancer, but a “pre-cancerous” condition because it has not yet developed the ability to invade tissue which is a hallmark of cancer.
(This seems to happen a lot- many doctors say this is not cancer and then continue to call it cancer through the course of their articles.)