Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the uncontrolled development of cells inside a milk duct in the breast. DCIS is considered the earliest stage of breast cancer (stage 0) and can be detected through the use of a mammogram. The cancer itself is noninvasive, it doesn’t spread out of the milk ducts; however, it does require treatment to prevent the condition from becoming invasive further on. Treatment options for women with DCIS most commonly include surgery and radiation.

There are two types of ductal carcinoma:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ, which is also referred to as intraductal carcinoma
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma



DCIS generally has no signs and symptoms. However, a small number of individuals can experience:

  • A breast lump
  • Change in the shape or size of the breast
  • Fluid from the nipple (can be bloody discharge, pus, greenish)



Ductal carcinoma in situ forms when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells within the breast ducts. Doctors aren’t sure what exactly triggers abnormal cell growth that leads to DCIS; however, a number of factors may play a role including genetics, environment, lifestyle and others.


Risk factors 

Factors that may increase the risk of developing DCIS include the following:

  • Increasing in age (most common in women over 50)
  • Being overweight
  • Personal or family history of breast cancer
  • First pregnancy after the age of 30
  • Estrogen-progestin hormone replacement therapy



Possible complications that might arise from DCIS include the following:

  • Pain or swelling of the breast
  • Risk of reoccurrence