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Increases in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast in relation to mammography: a dilemma.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


The increased use of screening mammography has resulted in a marked increase in detected cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast since the early 1980s. In 1993, there were an estimated 23,275 newly diagnosed cases of DCIS in the United States, of which 4,676 were in women aged 40-49. DCIS accounted for 14.7% of all newly diagnosed breast cancers in women aged 40-49 in 1993, and perhaps 40% of all mammographically detected breast cancers in this age group are DCIS. Among women aged 40-49, an estimated 1,890 mastectomies and 2,707 lumpectomies (with or without radiation) were performed for DCIS in 1993. There is an urgent need to better understand the relationship of mammographically detected DCIS to invasive and potentially life-threatening breast cancer. Better information about the appropriate treatment of DCIS is also needed to reduce the confusion and uncertainty many women and their physicians currently experience in the face of a DCIS diagnosis. For the present, women considering screening mammography should be told the likelihood of being diagnosed with DCIS and that only some DCIS cases may be clinically significant but almost all will be treated surgically.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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