What is lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)?
LCIS refers to abnormal cell growth in the lobules (milk-producing glands) of the breast. In contrast to invasive lobular carcinoma, LCIS remains contained within the lobules without spreading beyond its original site. While it’s most commonly found in women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, LCIS affects women of all ages.
Is LCIS breast cancer?
Although LCIS contains the word “carcinoma,” which is a type of cancer, and it is classified as “stage 0 cancer,” LCIS is not considered true cancer and is not life threatening. It does, however, increase the risk of developing breast cancer in the future. According to the Mayo Clinic, 20% of women diagnosed with LCIS will develop invasive breast cancer, in contrast to 12% of the general population of women.
What are the symptoms of LCIS?
Although a lump or nipple discharge may be present, LCIS does not typically produce symptoms. Additionally, it can be difficult to detect on screening mammograms because the microcalcifications that often signal the presence of developing cancer frequently don’t appear with LCIS. As a result, LCIS is most often found via biopsy when another issue is investigated. Researchers believe that many cases of LCIS remain undetected.
What treatments are recommended for LCIS?
Often, no treatment is recommended for women diagnosed with LCIS. However, breast-conserving surgery will sometimes be recommended to verify that no true cancer is present, particularly if microscopic examination shows signs that the abnormal area is more likely to grow quickly. Women who are at higher than average risk of developing breast cancer, such as those with BRCA gene mutations, sometimes choose to take certain cancer-preventing drugs (chemoprevention) or even prophylactic mastectomy after an LCIS diagnosis.
What is more commonly recommended is simply strict adherence to regular mammography screening and clinical breast exams. The increased risk of invasive cancer applies to both breasts (even if LCIS is found only in one). Some women are advised to augment mammography screening with MRI. If you’re diagnosed with LCIS, talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of adding MRI to your breast cancer screening regimen.
Iowa Radiology provides state-of-the-art breast imaging using low-dose 3-D mammography, MRI, and ultrasound in addition to imaging-guided biopsy. We pride ourselves on exceptional care and strive to make our patients as comfortable as possible at our clinics. For more information on breast cancer or breast imaging, click any of the images below to access our free resources.