According to the American Cancer Society, more than 60,000 cases of ductal carcinoma are diagnosed annually. However, ductal carcinoma does not mean breast cancer.
More than 60% of all women over 40 years old in the United States have had a mammogram in the past two years. About 20% of the mammograms detect ductal carcinoma, known as Stage 0 breast cancer.
Ductal carcinomas are abnormal cells found inside the milk ducts of the breast. They appear similar to invasive breast cancer cell, although they haven’t spread into the breast tissue and in some cases may not.
There are three ways to treat ductal carcinoma, with a lumpectomy, removing the masses themselves; lumpectomy and radiation; or removing the breast altogether with a mastectomy.
However, researchers are beginning to question the necessity of some of these treatments.
A study tracked more than 100,000 women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma for 20 years and found that women treated for ductal carcinoma had a similar chance of dying from breast cancer as those who had never been diagnosed.
All of the women that participated were part of the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program which is a database of cancer patients in the United States.
The study found that not only did women who were treated have similar chance of dying from breast cancer as those who hadn’t been treated, but also the type of treatment didn’t make a difference. The tree treatments have about the same outcomes.
These findings have forced experts to question whether doctors are being overly aggressive with treatment. Unfortunately this is an issue that is constantly repeated in medicine. Doctors treat aggressively and over the next decades discover that it was not necessary to be so aggressive.
Most experts advise caution. Women should learn about the ductal carcinoma treatments and talk to several doctors about their options.