Women with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Have a Lower Overall Risk of Death

Women with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Have a Lower Overall Risk of Death

Take-Home Message:

Women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) have lower mortality rates compared to women without DCIS.


Low Cause-Specific Mortality in Women Treated for Ductal Carcinoma In Situ of the Breast

Authors: Elshof, L. et. al.

Source: Poster presented at the 2017 European Cancer Congress


Many women with DCIS do not progress to invasive cancer. Studies are ongoing to determine which patients should receive aggressive treatment and which patients can simply be observed. The investigators in this study questioned the impact of a DCIS diagnosis on women’s overall health.

Over 9,000 women treated for DCIS in the Netherlands between 1989 and 2004 were followed, and all deaths were investigated. Four percent of the deaths were due to cardiovascular disease, while 3% of the deaths were due to breast cancer. Compared to women without DCIS, the subjects in this study had a 10% lower risk of dying from all causes — including cardiovascular, pulmonary and digestive diseases, as well as other cancers. Compared to the general population, women with DCIS had slightly higher risks of death due to breast cancer: 2.3% at 10 years after diagnosis and 4% after 15 years. Risk decreased with advancing age.

This study suggests that DCIS does not affect overall survival, and that women with the diagnosis may be a generally healthier group of individuals. The investigators encourage providers to consider if treatments for DCIS (such as radiation therapy, which can affect the lungs) will be associated with complications that affect overall health — outweighing the benefits of treating the diagnosis.