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Women who are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) outside the National Health Service breast screening programme are around four times as likely to develop invasive breast cancer and to die from breast cancer than women in the general population, finds a University of Oxford study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Mammogram showing breast cancer tumour © Shutterstock

This increased risk lasted for at least 25 years after diagnosis, suggesting that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) survivors may benefit from regular checks for at least three decades, say the researchers.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a disease where malignant breast cells are found but have not spread beyond the milk ducts. It isn’t immediately life-threatening, but can increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the future.

DCIS is often detected by the NHS breast screening programme, but some diagnoses occur outside the programme, either because women are not in the eligible 50-70 year age range, or they did not respond to a screening invitation, or because their DCIS developed between screens.

An earlier study by the same authors found that screen-detected Ductal carcinoma in situ is associated with more than twice the risk of invasive breast cancer and breast cancer related death than the general population, but long term rates after non-screen detected disease are still unclear.


Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.