Is DCIS cancer?

A generation ago, an oncologist might have gone years without encountering a case of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a precancerous breast lesion. But widespread mammography has led to a sevenfold increase in the number of new cases of DCIS. This steep rise has some experts worried, as screening’s ability to find these precancerous lesions has outstripped knowledge about how to classify DCIS and how to treat it. At a recent state-of-the-science conference, scientists debated whether the word “carcinoma” should be removed from the name,  in hopes of reducing fear and stemming a trend of overtreatment of this noninvasive pre-cancer.

Read more about DCIS and the debate about what to call it and how to treat it in my Proto Magazine feature, No Easy Answers, is published in the Winter 2014 issue of Proto Magazine.