Non-Invasive Breast Cancer

Many times tumors are discovered at an early stage while they are still small and confined within the breast. At this phase, they have not moved into the surrounding breast tissues and remain within the borders of a duct or lobule. These tumors are known as non-invasive, in situ (in SIGH-to) tumors. These are tumors that stay in the site of origin.

This type of tumor is normally too small to feel during a physical examine and is diagnosed by mammography. According to the American Cancer Society, about 15 percent of breast cancers are non-invasive. The two types of non-invasive breast cancer are lobular carcinoma in situ and ductal carcinoma in situ.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) refers to abnormal cells in the lining of a lobule. Though these abnormal cells seldom become invasive cancer, their presence is a sign that you have a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer in either breast. Your physician may recommend no treatment, besides maintaining a regular schedule of checkups.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), also called intraductal carcinoma, refers to abnormal cells in the lining of a duct. This means the cancer cells in your breast have not broken through the duct or invaded nearby tissue. Occasionally, DCIS does become invasive and can spread beyond the breast. Your physician may recommend a mastectomy, or you may have breast-conserving surgery, followed by radiation therapy. The underarm lymph nodes are not usually removed during this surgery.