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Topic: Does DCIS cause pain?

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Jun 18, 2008 08:50PM

lisajo wrote:


     I am 48 & I just had a second mammogram (it was digital) today because my mammogram last Thurs. showed my left breast was very dense (from what they told me. )   The radiologist talked with me and said I had DCIS calcification and that it was not serious and that I will have another Mammogram in six months.  He said it was only 5% chance that it could be cancer & I was not to worry~~Well, I have pain just above my left nipple and it extends under my left arm and even up into my neck.  I am so very concerned that it is a cancer that has spread throughout my body through my lymph nodes & I should get a second opinion.  I have three children & surely want to see them all grow up.  I am still so very scared.  Why the pain there?  He said to talk with my gynocologist as it may be muscle related.  But this all seems to be interrelated to me with the pain coming from my left breast.  What would you all do?  Any and all advice is so welcome as all of this is so new to me & I really don't think I will sleep for six months just waiting!   

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Jun 19, 2008 12:10AM DAPHNESPLACE wrote:

If I am correct, DCIS cannot be diagnosed without a biopsy.  My mammogram in April showed calcifications, i had a second mammogram w/ ultrasound, then a stereotactic biopsy which confirmed DCIS.  I was multifocal, so I agreed w/ my surgeon that a mastectomy was right for me.  I also had a family history of breast cancer.  When my surgeon asked me to consult an oncologist after my surgery for sake of following my progress, I was told by the oncologist he doesn't consider DCIS cancer, but pre-cancer, but given my particular case, he agreed that the mastectomy was the best choice in my case.  As all the women here will tell you, treatment is a very personal thing.  My doc is pushing for me to start tamoxifen, & I  don't know why I feel so resistant to it.  I guess I just feel like a "LAB RAT" right now, I'm sick of dr appointments & giving blood to everyone who asks for it! I am 45, have 3 children, also, & feel this was best for me.  Before the surgery, I, too, thought every pain was cancer spreading.  My lymph nodes were ok.  My DCIS was not invasive.  I feel blessed to have caught it in time.  After my second mammogram, I was immediately referred to a surgeon for a biopsy, but maybe my history had something to do with that.  If you are not comfortable, get a second opinion.  I didn't have pain.  I went in April for my yearly mammogram.  Take care--

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Jun 19, 2008 10:44AM kes wrote:


I had DCIS and it was found on mammogram as calcifications. I then had magnification views and an ultrasound, then a needle biopsy, then an excisional biopsy. The DCIS was finally confirmed after the excisional biopsy. I did not have any pain or symptoms. I don't think that the Radiologist can say that it is DCIS calcifications until a tissue sample is biopsied. My needle biopsy could not even get the DCIS, so therefore I went on to a larger biopsy. I would get a 2nd opinion and not leave this for 6 months and repeat mammogram. I think that you need further investigations done to see if it is DCIS or not.

I hope this helps.


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Jun 19, 2008 11:06AM Skyrat wrote:

I have to go with the other ladies on this.  A biopsy would need to be performed to make sure it is DCIS, and I wouldn't wait a month, let alone 6 months, to find out.  Pain is not necessarily an indication of DCIS - I didn't have pain with IDC, but some do experience pain.

5-1-08, Stage IV mets to the spine, 19/21 nodes metastatic adenode carcinoma, abundant vascular involvement; skyratgina.vox.com/ Dx 4/12/2007, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 19/21 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 19, 2008 10:00PM easyquilts wrote:

Lisa....I agree with the others...DCIS can only be confirmed by having a biopsy. No radioloist can look at a mammogram and say for certain that calcs are or are not DCIS.....

My calcs were found on a routine mammogram...Had a second one, then a stereotactic biopsy....This is when DX of DCIS was confirmed....Had a lumpectomy this past Monday....clean margins...So am getting ready for radiation treatments to begin.

Please get a second opinion...And don't wait or six months...I can't believe the radiologist suggested this to you.

Lots of luck...Come here often....We will all be here!


Sandy from Cincinanti....AKA Kermit Dx 5/21/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 20, 2008 06:22PM geebung wrote:


I'm sorry that you have this worry and I think that you should push to get this thoroughly checked out. When my DCIS was first diagnosed, I was told that it would be "ok to wait weeks before surgery but not months as it could become invasive". So, in my opinion, 6 months is way too long to wait before further action is taken. I had a lumpectomy which didn't remove it all but revealed that it was very extensive and multicentric. So I had a mastectomy with snb (negative). I am now completely cured.

I had no pain whatsoever on the DCIS side. In fact I was concerned about my other (right) breast because of a blood stained discharge. My left breast showed no symptoms at all in spite of the fact that it was full of grades 2 & 3 DCIS.

A second opinion is nearly always a good idea. 

Best of luck,


Dx 2/26/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jun 25, 2008 03:23PM lisajo wrote:

Thank you so very much for Everyone's advice and help and for being willing to share their own BC histories, too~~It means so much to me as I have been so scared lately.  My husband says I should just trust what this Dr. in Radiologist says & wait those 6 months, but I just have this very deep down feeling that there is something quite wrong now.  I know medical bills are expensive, but so are funeral invoices!! LOL   I am going to get more expert advice anyway as so many of you have suggested.  Thanks so much Again & God Bless You All!  I will Update Soon Hopefully.  :)


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Jun 25, 2008 08:31PM louishenry wrote:

Hi. Are you sure he said DCIS? First of all, 30-50% of untreated DCIS turns into cancer. I'm not sure where he got 5%. Even ADH has a higher chance of turning into cancer. I would absolutely not wait 6 months. I would at least have him clarify his assessment. DCIS is not life threatening and it doesn't spread, and many, many doctors call it a pre-cancer. BUT, it must get properly treated. Good Luck!

Dcis May 2007, 4 mm, grade 1-2, no rads recommended. Tamoxifen September 2007 .BRCA 1/2 Negative. Sis with LCIS
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Jun 25, 2008 09:46PM - edited Jun 26, 2008 04:54PM by Beesie

Lisa, I replied when you originally posted last week, but yours was one of the many duplicate posts out there and my response was attached to your other post and now is lost somewhere in the pile of old posts. I'm reposting here because I have a bit of a different perspective from what most have said.

You absolutely need to get clarification on what the radiologist reported about your mammogram, but depending on what actually was said, it could well be that waiting 6 months for a follow-up mammogram is a reasonable approachIt's all a question of whether you actually have DCIS calcifications or calcifications that only have a 5% chance of being cancer.  It's not possible to have both

Here's my post from last week with more of a explanation:



Are you sure that the radiologist said that you had "DCIS calcification"?  That doesn't seem right, for a couple of reasons.

First, while the radiologist may see calcifications, it is impossible for him to know if the calcifications are DCIS or if they are normal benign calcifications (which 60% of women get).   Calcifications can be macro (larger) or micro (smaller) and they can be scattered or clustered or linear.  If they are macro, they are benign.  If they are scattered, they are benign.  If they micro and are either clustered or linear, they probably are benign (80% of the time) but they could be cancer (20% of the time; mostly DCIS).  So anyone who has clustered or linear microcalcs should be sent for a biopsy.  That's the only way to know if it's DCIS.

Second, DCIS is cancer.  It's Stage 0 non-invasive cancer, but it is cancer.  Because it's Stage 0, some doctors do consider it to be pre-cancer, but it still has to be treated as if it's cancer.  It has to be removed.  There's no question or debate about this.  So if you have DCIS, the radiologist would not have said that it's not serious and you can wait 6 months for another mammogram.  Even if it just appears that's there's a possibility that it could be DCIS, a biopsy would be the next step. 

So my guess is that the radiologist doesn't think you have DCIS.  It sounds much more likely that you have calcifications that are not either clustered or linear - calcifications that appear benign.  The normal treatment in this sitation is a follow-up mammogram in 6 months.  This is done just to ensure that no new calcifications turn up that change the pattern to form a clustered or linear appearance.  If the calcifications remain stable for 6 months and continue to appear benign, then the docs are happy and you're confirmed as being okay. 

My recommendation is that you get a copy of your mammogram report to see what it says.  Your family doctor or gyne should also advise you on it, letting you know if he or she agrees that the 6-month follow-up is appropriate based on what the mammogram showed.

As for the pains, it sounds as though your pains may be related to the mammogram itself - the stretching and contorting and squeezing could cause all the pains that you describe. 

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage IA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Jun 26, 2008 09:43AM louishenry wrote:

Great explanation, Beesie. I just need to clarify something. I quoted 30-50% of DCIS turns into cancer....I meant Invasive. That's what we all want to avoid!

Dcis May 2007, 4 mm, grade 1-2, no rads recommended. Tamoxifen September 2007 .BRCA 1/2 Negative. Sis with LCIS
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Jun 27, 2008 12:39AM omo wrote:

i had DCIS and it showed up as calcifications, but I had to have a needle guided biopsy to confirm it was cancer.I'd advise you to get this done ASAP

and i wish you all the best

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Jul 6, 2008 07:52PM huberhorse wrote:

I go for magnification views tomorrow.  My mammogram showed microcalcifications.  I have had pain in left breast and went about 9 mos ago for ultrasound.  Inflammed duct was the diagnosis.

Went for two follow up ultrasounds and then routine mammogram.  Now they find the calcifications.  I am a nervous wreck......I have tried to be proactive.  If they take a wait and watch approach with this, do you recommend a second opinion?


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Jul 6, 2008 08:01PM Shirlann wrote:

Hi honey, listen to Beesie, she is our resident expert.

NOTHING can be told but suspicion without the tissue in question being under a microscope.  All else is guesswork.  And I am shocked that anyone, much less a radiology tech, would even be giving you this advice.  Not what is usually done.

So, get the thing out, this is your body, not his.

Gentle hugs, Shirlann 

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