When most people are told they have this lesion, the only word they hear is carcinoma.
Which instantly conjures up nightmares of disfiguring surgery and the nightmare of chemo, all with the risk of an early demise hanging over you.
What’s more, women who receive this diagnosis also receive an onslaught of complicated and conflicting medical advice that can feel overwhelming.
And get this: Some women are told they have cancer; others with the very same diagnosis are told they do not. Likewise, some are informed their condition is precancerous or noncancerous, but are then prescribed extensive, invasive treatments anyway.
Here’s what you need to know – and what you need to do. . .
Despite its name, DCIS – ductal carcinoma in situ – is not cancer and has not spread to nearby tissues. It’s simply a group of abnormal cells contained within the milk ducts. In situ means “in place.”
This diagnosis has the potential to scare the living daylights out of you. But with a ten-year survival rate of just about 100% and more treatment options than your doctor is likely to tell you about, there’s less reason to be scared than you might think. . .
. . .at least if you know the facts.
If this “carcinoma” isn’t cancer, then what is it?
DCIS is not invasive cancer. It stays inside the milk duct. It can be large or small, but it rarely if ever spreads to surrounding breast tissue or lymph nodes.
Still, it’s often referred to as “pre-cancerous.”
35 years ago, DCIS was rarely diagnosed. Then came the rise of breast cancer awareness campaigns and annual mammograms (a bad idea, but more on this in a moment). In 2009, 50,000 new DCIS cases were diagnosed.
The truth is that since DCIS almost never has any symptoms and has no lesions you can detect with your fingertips, it would never have become a clinically relevant “disease” without today’s x-ray technology.
DCIS represents 25% of all “breast cancers” diagnosed today. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has one of the highest x-ray mammography rates – and correspondingly, the highest rate of diagnosed DCIS in the world.
If you think you smell the gastro-intestinal waste of a bull, you’re right. . .
DCIS is one of the most commonly diagnosed and needlessly treated forms of “breast cancer” today.
So the pivotal question is if it’s not cancer, is it possible that the treatment options recommended actually aggravate and increase your risk of developing true cancer?
You are NOT a “ticking time bomb” – reject that line from your doctor
Women are understandably confused about why they’re being treated as if they have invasive breast cancer if DCIS is really so benign.
Whether by accident or design, women are routinely misdiagnosed and consequently mistreated (in more ways than one) by the medical establishment.
In some cases, it’s because their doctors don’t know better, have been brainwashed, or simply haven’t taken the time and effort to explain to them that they have choices when diagnosed with DCIS. In other cases, more treatment means more revenue.
There’s also a lot of “CYA medicine.” If a doctor does what he or she is told to do by our top-down medical establishment, there’s no danger of a malpractice suit.
Sadly, a woman with DCIS is often told she’s a “ticking time bomb.”
No doctor should ever tell a woman that.
If you or a loved one ever feels pressured, rushed, bullied, or coerced into treatments, remember that DCIS is not a medical emergency.
Stop, take a little time, and do your own research on your options.
But meanwhile don’t be surprised if doctors pressure you to undergo their treatments. Just remember… they can cause much bigger problems than DCIS itself.
Conventional medicine’s stated goals for DCIS treatments are to prevent local recurrence of DCIS and to prevent it from becoming invasive breast cancer.
But even the former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS), Otis Brawley, said, “Right now, we have women getting bilateral mastectomies for DCIS, which is not a cancer. It’s the world turned upside down.” Here’s a look at the conventional treatments. . .
1. Lumpectomy (or mastectomy)
Lumpectomy is called a breast-conserving treatment, because the breast isn’t removed completely as in a mastectomy – just the abnormal tissue and maybe adjacent healthy tissue.
But studies have shown that 48 to 59% of women who undergo this treatment require a second or third surgery due to ineffective lumpectomies.1
Prior to lumpectomy, doctors perform a procedure called wire localization to “guide” the surgeon, since it is in essence a “blind surgery.” This very damaging procedure involves piercing a wire through the breast, then smashing and radiating it in a mammogram machine.
It’s incredibly painful, ineffective, and harmful. You don’t need a medical degree to realize this damages sensitive breast tissue. And all that for a failure rate of 48 to 59%!
Plus, it’s an established fact that all surgeries breach your body’s natural barriers in order to reach the tumor. Once those protective casings are breached, cancer cells can escape the duct and spread.
What’s more, surgical trauma stimulates tumor cell growth and slashes natural killer (NK) cell activity. These are your body’s natural anti-cancer cells.
Going under the knife also comes with other risks, like infections, which are increasingly antibiotic-resistant, and anesthesia-related side effects. Not to mention follow-up surgeries.
And for all that, you get no additional survival benefit at all for low-grade DCIS. Studies show the weighted ten-year cancer-specific survival rate of non-surgical patients was 98.8%, while that of the surgery group was 98.6%.2
Then there’s the psychological fallout – depression, feelings of lost femininity and sexual identity, and fear about how one’s partner will react. Women often wonder how they’ll cope, and struggle with acute grief.
This negative fallout of surgery is one thing if you’re facing a Stage 4 life-or-death cancer decision… quite another if you have benign DCIS.
Now imagine that after all these invasive procedures, you’re told you’ll need five to seven weeks of daily radiation therapy, plus five years of a toxic carcinogenic drug.
Mammograms themselves emit low-dose ionizing radiation. Repeated exposure via multiple mammograms boosts your breast cancer risk.
Many doctors advise additional radiation treatment. Radiation therapy comes with a host of side effects and doesn’t increase survival rates in DCIS patients. Be careful what you agree to.
3. Chemotherapy/Hormone-blocking meds like Tamoxifen.
These drugs block the production of sex hormones.
But they don’t universally lower the risk of DCIS recurrence or future invasive cancer, nor have they been shown to actually increase survival rates at all.
Worse, the World Health Organization (WHO) and ACS classify Tamoxifen as a human carcinogen.3
That’s right, it causes cancer.
Endometrial cancer is one of the better-known adverse health effects from Tamoxifen. But the drug is also linked to stomach cancer, leukemia, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, vaginal cancer, fatty liver, blood clots, memory loss, and low sex drive.
Why tolerate these risks for a drug that doesn’t increase your survival rate?
Fortunately, there’s a better way. But first…
What to do immediately upon a DCIS diagnosis
Because all treatment plans rest on a careful and accurate diagnosis, make this your first priority after a DCIS (or any cancer) diagnosis… before agreeing to any treatment regimen.
It bears repeating…
Before you rush into any treatment option, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with, so you can make smart decisions.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t get this information without being pushy and demanding.
Please, no matter how afraid you are… remember you’re not likely to die from DCIS and you have time on your side.
So don’t rush to get under the surgeon’s knife, or do anything else, till you’ve completed these five steps:
1. Obtain and understand your pathology report. Then have at least one other pathologist read it.
Pathologists disagree with each other up to one-fourth of the time.
That makes verifying your pathology report and getting a second pathology opinion paramount4 – because doctors base all treatment recommendations on that report.
This second opinion should be from a board-certified expert pathologist from a different hospital than the first one, and should be read by someone who reads at least 250 reports per year.
You might even be justified in getting a third opinion. It can truly help you make the most informed decisions possible.
In 2006, Susan G. Komen for the Cure released an alarming study.5 An estimated 90,000 women with a diagnosis of DCIS or invasive breast cancer either didn’t have the disease at all or were given incorrect treatment due to pathology mistakes.
Pathologists also frequently disagree about size, margin width, and grade of DCIS. So be sure you find a pathologist with a high level of expertise, and ensure that the two or three opinions you get are consistent before proceeding with a treatment plan.
2. Get a doctor’s second opinion on best treatment.
Seek the type of doctor who’d be doing the type of treatment you’re considering. For example, if you’re trying to decide what type of surgery to go with, get your second opinion from a surgeon.
Most insurance companies will pay for a second opinion.
Do your due diligence. This is your body and your life we’re talking about.
Leaving a high-risk DCIS in place might not be the right option. But neither is treating a benign growth.
When your doctor says, “Jump,” don’t ask her, “How high?” Get a second opinion. Maybe even a third.
3. Get as many preliminary tests done as possible.
Poor blood markers may dictate one course of action, whereas strong ones could imply “wait and watch.”
Seek out thermography. It’s a viable alternative to mammograms backed by more than 800 peer-reviewed studies. This diagnostic tool is not invasive, emits no radiation, and detects abnormal cellular patterns long before a tumor is even established.
Also consider the Cancer Profile Test, which consists of seven tests conducted by Dr. Emil Schandl. The tests check for (among other things) early detection of HCG, the “malignancy hormone,” and PHI, the “malignancy promoter.”
These biomarkers can foretell cancer ten to twelve years before a diagnosis, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They show how “friendly” your internal environment is to cancer development.
4. Take a good deep breath.
Even women with the highest grade DCIS who do nothing to treat it have a greater than 90% chance of living beyond ten years. The survival rate is much higher for low grade DCIS. If there was ever a case that calls for watchful waiting rather than panicked rush into chemo, radiation or surgery, this is it.
Don’t panic or overreact. Panic almost never produces the best decisions.
4. Consider enlisting a holistic physician to help you chart your course.
Along with getting a second/third opinion on the pathology report and two or more treatment recommendations from physicians or surgeons, you might want to discuss your options with a doctor who focuses on healing your whole body, not just cutting, burning, or poisoning a certain part out of your body.
Watchful waiting and non-invasive testing
As I suggested a moment ago, it looks to me like the sensible course is choosing to wait. Sad to say, this simple, logical conclusion amounts to a radical paradigm shift in DCIS treatment.
Why are most women with a DCIS diagnosis not offered active surveillance or watchful waiting as a treatment option – as men are for prostate cancer?
Women are bulldozed into risky treatments under the premise that no one really knows which DCIS cases will progress to invasive cancer. So the standard of care is to treat everyone alike, as if it’s already invasive cancer.
Gladly, there are now a handful of brave doctors who buck the conventional system and advocate watchful waiting as a viable treatment plan for women with DCIS.
Maybe they read the 2011 study published in The Lancet that showed many breast cancers (even more aggressive ones) detected through screening programs can spontaneously regress, even when nothing is done to treat them.6
I’m willing to bet a hefty sum of money that spontaneous regression can be rendered even more likely by lifestyle changes involving healthy food, supplements, exercise, ample sleep and stress reduction.
It may take courage on your part to buck the system when family or friends advocate that you just obey “doctor’s orders.” Be ready to defend yourself, but also tell them that the best thing they can do for you right now is to respect your decisions. I think a well-placed MYOB can be a good idea, too.
Thermography and the Cancer Profile test may be useful tools for your watchful waiting.
Time to get back to healing instead of harming
Researchers are increasingly coming to the conclusion that mammograms are ineffective at best and harmful at worst.
Multiple studies show that all this meddling does not save lives, and may even take lives due to false positives, needless and often risky treatments, and cancers brought on by the treatments themselves.
The published research confirms it over and over.
Dr. John McDougall cites statistics indicating that, if 2,000 women are screened for ten years, screening will save just one life. That’s 20,000 mammograms with all that deadly radiation. Anywhere from five to 50 of those women will become cancer victims, and between 60 and 1,000 of them will be called back for additional screening, exposing them to even more radiation and potential for false positives.
The Cochrane Report advises against mammograms, and if you want to avoid a pseudo disease that rarely (if ever) progresses to real cancer, you might be well advised to replace them with thermograms.
Some doctors believe mammograms will eventually fall into disrepute. I wouldn’t bet on that, given that the industry generates $5 to $13 billion per year. Yet if enough people start shunning them in favor of thermography, anything’s possible.
- Journal of Clinical Oncology, May 7, 2012
- Lancet Oncol. 2011 Nov ;12(12):1118-24. Epub 2011 Oct 11. PMID: 21996169