New findings on breast cancer treatment spark medical debate

a pair of pink boxing gloves against a grey background

Stage 0 breast cancer, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is considered a very early stage of breast cancer, in which cancer cells are confined to the milk ducts only. The incidence of DCIS has seen a dramatic increase in an era when technological advances make it possible to detect abnormalities that might have gone unnoticed in the past.

The vast majority of women with Stage 0 cancers undergo either a lumpectomy (tumour removal without removing the breast) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Especially in the case of a mastectomy, surgery can have far-reaching consequences for women beyond treatment, including scarring, disfigurement and complications such as lymphedema (swelling of the lymph nodes). The scars can also be emotional and psychological, affecting a woman’s relationships and self-esteem. Finally, a woman’s working life and career prospects may be adversely affected. It is therefore not surprising that a recently published study has made headlines[i] suggesting that treatment might not have Read more