A new series of articles published in the New York Times has drawn much needed attention to the drawn-out debate surrounding the treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS. These tiny lesions found in the milk ducts were diagnosed in approximately 60,000 women last year alone, all of whom were treated in a multitude of ways.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Oncology, added fuel to the fire when fresh data evaluating 20 years of statistics for 100,000 women diagnosed with DCIS revealed shocking results and raised new questions about decades of policy and treatment.
This new data uncovered that, although most of the cases analyzed were treated with lumpectomies, radiation, and mastectomies, the odds of a woman with DCIS dying of breast cancer within 20 years was still no different from the general population. The startling findings of this study also centered on the fact that the odds that patients treated with mastectomies would develop breast cancer were not changed, even though the procedure should have removed all DCIS cells from the area.
Even still, experts have not been able to give a definitive diagnosis to what DCIS is exactly. Some believe it is cancer in situ, or pre-cancer, while others define it as a cancer risk, yet many consider it full-blown cancer. Regardless of its definition, the most effective treatment option has long been argued and is still undecided.
Dr. Barnett Kramer, the director of the division of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute, responded to this release, saying “Treatment that reduces recurrence in the breast is not a good surrogate for reducing the risk of death from breast cancer. This gets to the issue of how counterintuitive cancer is.”
An influential health brand has spoken out on the topic, using these results as a catalyst for change. A representative for the company, Joelle Franklin, said “These findings, though shocking, only draw more attention to the needs of the people. We need more education on topics surrounding our health, we need more funding for medical research to start really understanding conditions like DCIS, and we need to start fighting for effective treatments that will actually help prevent the problem in the first place.”
Those interested in learning more on this topic should visit http://tinyurl.com/qho7he8.
Release ID: 90270