A cancer diagnosis is incredibly terrifying. People know that there is always a possibility of getting cancer, but they never think that it will happen to them. While the disease itself may be well known, the specifics are a lot more obscure. Barring oncologists and other medical professionals, most people cannot tell between the several types of cancers, and they don’t know much about the several treatment options.
Sure, people know that tumors can be removed during surgery and that most cancer patients will need to undergo some chemotherapy or radiation therapy. But not all cancers are equal. While many types can be life-threatening, a cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. What’s more, as technology and medical procedures advance cancer is becoming more and more treatable.
The recovery process may be long, and it may be hard, but recovery is possible. When a woman gets breast cancer, she gets bombarded with thoughts that spell doom and gloom. But, if she has gets diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, then this could not be further from the truth.
This is a type of breast cancer that is incredibly treatable. It may be scary yes, it is cancer after all. But it is cancer that is caught early, and it is one that is quite well understood. One way to alleviate some of the stress that accompanies a cancer diagnosis is to eliminate the mystery and misinformation that surrounds the topic. Therefore, here are some things that everyone needs to know about ductal carcinoma in situ.
1. Cancer develops in the milk ducts
As the name suggests in ductal carcinoma in situ, cancer itself develops in the milk ducts of the breast. These ducts are responsible for transporting milk from the breast to the baby that gets fed. When a cell in this region becomes cancerous, it multiplies incorrectly and then results in a clump of cells that could resemble a tumor. This may sound like it could be terminal, but the position of this cancer makes I quite a treatable one. Because cancer develops in the ducts, it is also confined to these same ducts. It is not likely to spread, and that is why it has the stage classification of stage 0.
This is very low down on the cancer staging scale and can even be referred to as pre-cancer. This situation can be verified by again referring to the name of cancer. In situ means that it is in its original place, therefore stopping it from being metastasizing cancer. In women who have received their breast cancer diagnosis early, a fifth of them has ductal carcinoma in situ.
2. It is not a cancer
This is not said to invalidate the fear and trepidation that is felt following a diagnosis of DCIS. It is still an awful experience. Each person that has received this diagnosis is well within their rights to be upset. They can be scared, and they can be sad. But once they have let these emotions wash over them, it is time to have a serious talk about the fact that this is not cancer. Yes, the wording of DCIS may imply that it is cancer. But, when it comes down to semantics, proper cancer needs room to grow and spread.
DCIS happens in the milk ducts of the breasts and is therefore confined to these ducts. Therefore, this is not cancer. It is not invasive like other breast cancers. It is a deviation from that proper functioning of the body, but it is not cancer. This point cannot be stressed enough. This doesn’t mean that it is not a severe condition, but people with this diagnosis need to be aware that they have not been given a death sentence. They have been given a diagnosis of a disease that is very treatable.
3. A mammogram is needed to find the cells
Women should be in the habit of getting routine mammograms. This does not have to be done excessively. But, it is a very important checkup that should be performed at least once a year. The process may be quite uncomfortable, and it could even hurt, but it is not invasive, and it should not be avoided out of fear. It is during these mammograms that DCIS is generally picked up. It shows up as a calcified area in the breast. If this is found, then a sample will be taken for a biopsy. This biopsy will then confirm or deny whether DCIS is present or not.
This is an apparent indication of the importance of mammograms as in the case of DCIS, and lumps are generally not big enough to be felt. They are not noticeable, and they mostly cannot be detected just my feeling around the breast. Granted, there are cases where a lump can be felt, and it is possible to have an unusual discharge from the nipple when one has DCIS. But, on a whole, a mammogram is needed to detect the condition. There is also Paget’s disease where the skin around that nipple gets dry and thick, which is associated with DCIS.
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