Due to advanced screening methods, the percentage of cancers that are diagnosed as ductal carcinoma in situ (stage 0 breast cancer) has gradually increased over the past several decades. Now, nearly one in every 1,300 screening mammographies leads to a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ. Patients whose cancer is detected at this stage (when it has not had the opportunity to become a more invasive malignancy) typically have the widest range of treatment options, as well as the best outcomes and quality of life.
The most common screening method for ductal carcinoma in situ is a mammogram (also known as mammography). These imaging scans take only a few minutes and use X-rays to produce images of a patient’s breast tissues. When ductal carcinoma in situ is present, the resulting images may show small clusters of abnormal cells inside the milk ducts, which typically appear as small white specks or shadows.
The American Cancer Society makes the following recommendations on the use of mammograms for ductal carcinoma in situ screening:
- On a discretionary basis (if deemed beneficial by a physician) for women between the ages of 40 and 44
- Once per year for women between the ages of 45 and 54, or for women of any age who have one or more breast cancer risk factors
- Every other year for women age 55 and older who are in good health and expected to live for at least 10 more years
Ductal carcinoma in situ is seldom diagnosed in males, so there are not yet any standard recommendations for routine mammograms in men. However, males who have an elevated risk of breast cancer due to genetics or other known risk factors should ask their physicians to recommend individualized screening plans.
Both men and women who are concerned about their risk of developing breast cancer can turn to Moffitt Cancer Center for a comprehensive range of screening services. Not only do we offer digital imaging tests, but also on-site lab work for patients whose imaging scans indicate a cellular abnormality. Additionally, we can provide advanced genetic testing and counseling services to help determine whether a person’s genetics increase their risk of developing ductal carcinoma in situ. All of these services are provided in the same, convenient location, and referrals are not required.
To learn more about ductal carcinoma in situ screening methods, schedule an imaging scan or make an appointment with our genetic counselors, call 1-888-663-3488. You can also request an appointment by submitting a new patient registration form online.