National Breast Cancer Coalition

Truth #14


Early detection is not the answer. Finding and treating all Stage 0 breast cancer, or DCIS, will not prevent all deaths from breast cancer.

The increase in the incidence of DCIS as a result of mammography has resulted in overtreatment for many women, without a concurrent decrease in the incidence of later stage diagnoses. We now know it is not just the size of the tumor that determines outcome, but that the biology of the tumor and its surrounding environment are important.

Although DCIS is a risk factor for invasive breast cancer, the natural history of DCIS and the likelihood that DCIS will progress to invasive disease is unknown. We do not yet know how to identify which DCIS will progress and which will not.