DCIS, LCIS – Do I have breast cancer?

friendsLobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are abnormalities that doctors call “stage zero” breast cancer. Women with either of these diagnoses often ask us, “Do I have breast cancer?”

Despite the fact that its name includes the term “carcinoma,” LCIS is not a true breast cancer. Rather, LCIS is an indication that a person is at higher-than-average risk for getting breast cancer at some point in the future. For this reason, some experts prefer the term “lobular neoplasia” instead of “lobular carcinoma.” A neoplasia is a collection of abnormal cells. LCIS is restricted to the lobules.

DCIS is the most common kind of carcinoma (cancer) in situ. In DCIS, cancer cells are only in the ductal walls. If DCIS is not treated, it will likely grow into an invasive cancer. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two conditions:

Source: National Comprehensive Cancer Center Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer

Source: National Comprehensive Cancer Center Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer


Ask your doctor questions about your diagnosis and your pathology results. You and your doctor will decide what treatment is best for your situation. Whether you are diagnosed with LCIS or DCIS, it can be overwhelming. Get support when needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to turn to a trusted friend when you need to share your feelings and concerns. Make healthy changes to your lifestyle, so you can feel your best.

Additional Resources

U-M Breast Care Center

U-M Breast Imaging(Mammography)

U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center News: Yearly mammograms from age 40 save 71 percent more lives, study shows

National Comprehensive Cancer Center Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer


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