Loading cart

Treatment options for DCIS

Treatment options for DCIS depend on a number of things, including the size of the DCIS compared to the size of the breast, the grade of DCIS, the woman’s age and whether she has a family history of breast cancer.Because ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) may develop into invasive breast cancer and invasive breast cancer can spread and cause death, it’s recommended that all women with DCIS have treatment. The aim of treatment for DCIS is to help prevent invasive breast cancer from developing and to help stop DCIS from coming back in the breast.

Treatment for DCIS usually involves:

Treatment for DCIS may involve:

In addition, some women with DCIS choose to use complementary therapies or may be involved in a clinical trial for other treatments.

Breast surgery

Surgery for DCIS usually involves breast conserving surgery.

Sometimes a mastectomy may be recommended. Find out when a mastectomy may be recommended for DCIS. Breast reconstruction may be possible after a mastectomy for DCIS.

For some women, the surgical biopsy to diagnose DCIS is the only surgery needed because all the DCIS is removed by the biopsy.


Radiotherapy is usually recommended after breast conserving surgery for women with DCIS. Radiotherapy is not usually recommended after mastectomy for women with DCIS.

Surgery to remove lymph nodes

Because DCIS cells are contained within the milk ducts and don’t spread into the breast tissue, most women with DCIS don’t need to have lymph nodes removed from the armpit.

Rarely, if the DCIS covers a large area of the breast or if the DCIS is high grade, removal of some lymph nodes may be recommended.

Hormonal therapies

Hormonal therapies are drugs that change the level of female hormones in the body or stop cells from being affected by hormones. There are several different types of hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapies might be effective in women with DCIS. However, the long-term benefits and side effects of hormonal therapies for women with DCIS are not yet known. Clinical trials are continuing to test hormonal therapies for treating DCIS.