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DCIS is a high-risk non-invasive lesion that is “in place” and cannot spread. It has not yet turned into true breast cancer. Nevertheless, it is recommended that it be removed. There are different types of DCIS (low, intermediate and high grade) and you should ask which type you have to fully understand your treatment options.
Small Tumor/Early Stage
If your tumor is less than 5cm in diameter and multiple lymph nodes are NOT involved you have early stage breast cancer. Up to 3 positive lymph nodes in your breast or axilla (armpit) with a small tumor, is still considered early stage, as is a larger than 5cm tumor with negative lymph nodes.
Large Tumor/ Locally Advanced
Any tumor over 5cm is considered large in size and if combined with positive lymph nodes is locally advanced or Stage III. A tumor less than 5cm with a large palpable lymph node, or with 4 or more positive lymph nodes, is also considered locally advanced.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
If you have an unusual rash, redness, thickening of the breast skin that is progressing rapidly, or other symptoms such as orange peel indentations on the skin, it is likely that you have inflammatory breast cancer.
If you have a history of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene in your family, or if multiple family members have had breast or ovarian cancer, you will be considered at high risk for getting breast cancer.