Although the name includes the term carcinoma, lobular carcinoma
in situ (LCIS) is not really cancer, but rather a noninvasive condition
that increases the risk of developing cancer in the future. LCIS,
also known as lobular neoplasia or stage 0 breast cancer, occurs
when abnormal cells accumulate in the breast lobules.
Although most doctors don’t think that LCIS itself becomes
breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, a woman
with LCIS has a 25% chance of developing some form of invasive
cancer within her lifetime.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is not visible on a mammogram,
and often does not cause symptoms. Therefore, the condition is
typically discovered when doctors are doing a breast biopsy for
other reasons, for example when investigating an unrelated breast
lump. LCIS is usually diagnosed before menopause,
most often between the ages of 40 and 50. Less than 10% of women
diagnosed with LCIS have already gone through menopause. LCIS is
extremely uncommon in men.
Typically, people with LCIS simply increase their surveillance
for breast cancer, having multiple physical exams each year, and
mammograms once or twice a year. This allows doctors to identify
breast cancer at the earliest, most treatable stage if it does
In rare instances, a patient with LCIS will choose to undergo
a mastectomy, which although drastic is proven to reduce the risk
of developing breast cancer in the future. This option is most
commonly reserved for men or women with a family history of breast
cancer and/or a known genetic mutation that dramatically increases
the risk of developing breast cancer above the risk imparted by
a LCIS diagnosis.
Studies have also shown that taking the hormone Tamoxifen reduces
the risk of developing breast cancer in post-menopausal women who
have been diagnosed with LCIS.
The physician in Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center
will be able to discuss each of these options with you in more
detail, and help to guide your treatment decision to the one most
appropriate for your specific situation.
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