Free patient booklet on ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

To view, download, or printfree copy of our patient booklet, here is a PDF of DCIS: What You Need to Know.

The Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund has developed a free, easy-to-read 32-page color booklet for women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). It explains DCIS and commonly used medical terms in plain language and helps women make informed decisions about their treatment.

If a woman has a particularly low-risk type of DCIS, she may choose “active surveillance” instead of surgery and other treatment. Active surveillance consists of closely watching the patient’s DCIS to make sure it does not develop into breast cancer. The patient can choose surgery and other treatments if the DCIS develops into breast cancer, or if she decides she wants surgery for any other reason. Another option for women with particularly low-risk types of DCIS is to take the hormone pills tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, rather than surgery.

Experts estimate that at least half of all women diagnosed with DCIS would never develop breast cancer even if they never received any treatment for their DCIS. Since no one knows for sure which women with DCIS will develop breast cancer and which won’t, most women with DCIS choose to get some form of surgery. This booklet focuses on helping women decide what kind of surgery to get and what other kinds of treatment they might want or need.  Patients should keep in mind that if their physician tells them that they have a particularly low-risk type of DCIS, they may want to consider active surveillance or tamoxifen only, rather than surgery in addition to other treatments.

The current booklet was approved and funded by a grant from the D.C. Cancer Consortium through the Department of Health, Government of the District of Columbia, and a grant from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation.  To request copies of the free patient booklet, write   or call    202-223-4000.

We are currently updating the booklet to include information about active surveillance.