We held a chat on the topic of breast cancer with Dr. Toncred Styblo in October. From that chat, we got lots of great questions and feedback and even a couple questions we couldn’t get to in the chat’s allotted time. Dr. Styblo has taken the time to answer those questions for this follow up blog post, mostly covering questions related to ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer typically found in the lining of the milk ducts that has not yet invaded nearby tissues.
Below are the questions Dr. Styblo has covered in this post:
- How long does one continue to follow up with oncologist and surgeon after DCIS diagnosis and resultant mastectomy?
- What is the risk of recurrence in other breast after DCIS and mastectomy?
- Does that include blood work for Ca27-29, and how often?
- I’m interested in risk of recurrence after DCIS diagnosis. If you continue to follow your patients for life (which Dr. Styblo mentioned in the chat that she does), that suggests a moderate risk for recurrence.]
- What would you suggest in the case of multifocal DCIS?
Answers from Dr. Styblo:
DCIS, intraductal cancer and in situ ductal cancer are names for stage “0” breast cancer. Stage 0 breast cancer is cured by removing it completely with surgery, but does not have any affect on the risk of developing a second breast cancer in that breast or the other breast.
The surgery to remove the cancer may be a lumpectomy or it might be a mastectomy. This risk of a patient developing another breast cancer post-surgery is dependent on many factors and the risk is best assessed by your doctor. The subsequent follow up and recommendations about screening and risk reduction will be dependent on additional factors including the pathologic features of the DCIS and the patient’s risk of developing a second breast cancer.
Because DCIS is stage 0 breast cancer, follow up is primarily to screen for another breast cancer rather than recurrence. The screening includes breast imaging and clinical exam, there are no blood tests indicated.
Dr. Styblo also received a question on the topic of support in the chat: What role, in your opinion does emotional support play in achieving the best possible outcome after breast cancer? Where or how do you recommend patients find advocates? The Winship Cancer Institute has several programs for survivors and support, including the Peer Partner Program which “matches cancer survivors and caregivers with cancer patients and caregivers dealing with a similar diagnosis of cancer, pre-cancerous condition, or benign tumor.”
Breast Health & Breast Cancer Related Resources:
- Quiz – Breast Cancer High Risk Quiz
- Web Site – Winship at Emory Breast Cancer Resources
- Web Site – Emory Breast Health Center
- Blog Post – Nutrition for Cancer Patients