DCIS dilemma described

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Katie Hobson of USNWR:

"it's not hard to see why a diagnosis of DCIS is confusing and frustrating. On one hand, you're told not to worry; you do not have invasive cancer and most likely never will (the 10-year survival rate is almost 100 percent, with treatment). On the other, you're told you need to have the cells surgically removed and, in some cases, may need radiation. So really, it's not so far off from what you'd go through if you did have cancer. And even though DCIS is almost always treated, scientists agree that not all cases would ever have turned dangerous. How did we get into this situation? And how do we get out of it?"

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It's not possible to predict which women with DCIS will develop breast cancer. Sometimes scans cannot pick up breast malignancies in detail because of the opaqueness. Is that nodularity an indication that should be looked at with more clarity? Only a pathologist would know well. For years, physicians have settled on the smallest amount of tumor tissue possible, often with a fine needle aspirate that collects just a few cells for biopsy analysis. Larger bore needles are needed to perform core biopsies or even remove entire lymph nodes, so that they can collect enough live (fresh) tissue to more reliably determine the histologic and molecular features of a specimen. Imaging technologies cannot substitute for the biologist's thorough examination of the features of a cell.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on October 23, 2009 10:04 AM.

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