A rose is a rose is a rose except with breast cancer. What Gertrude Stein meant about the rose is a thing is itself no matter the name or how it is described. The language used to describe the diagnosis, the most common form of breast cancer is under debate and it is not all roses.
Ductal in situ carcinoma, DCIS, is not the same as Invasive breast cancer. Just to confuse the subject more, doctors will use terms as stage 0 cancer and noninvasive cancer to describe DCIS.
About 25% of all cancers in the US are DCIS. That is over 50,000 cases per year. 60%-80% of all DCIS cases are benign and will never progress to an invasive cancer.
Terminology in recent studies shows how this language hodgepodge about DCIS impacts the patient’s perception and course of action. What this means is that many women over treat their diagnosis because they hear the word cancer.
The studies are not recommending that if the name is changed screening should decrease. The debate is about changing the name DCIS to a name that does not have the word carcinoma in it. The thinking is that the use of cancer or carcinoma in the name of the disease be only used when describing lesions “with a reasonable likelihood of lethal progression if left untreated”. A new name and acronym is IDLE, indolent lesions of epithelial origin. Another name being considered is intraepithelial neoplasia because that is already used with other organs including the cervix, vagina and prostate.
The number of DCIS cases is increasing with the sophistication of digital mammography and breast MRI. This is good news because early detection is treatable. With more cases come more confusion about treatment options and health outcomes.
Just think what you would be thinking if you are given a diagnosis of a suspicious lesion of the breast from your yearly mammogram. You may be sent for an ultra sound and then a biopsy. The data confirms ductal in situ carcinoma. Did you hear that it is not invasive?
Are you confused yet? Having DCIS puts you at a higher risk of invasive breast cancer but it is not the same as having invasive breast cancer. This name change is a volatile yet interesting subject, one that is still in the debating phase.
What are your thoughts? Would a change of name change your outlook?
October is breast cancer awareness month.