What Is Stage 0 Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer in its early stages

When there are abnormal cells in the lining of your milk ducts, you have stage 0 breast cancer, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Those cells, however, have not expanded beyond the duct’s wall to reach adjacent tissue, your circulation, or lymph nodes.

DCIS is a noninvasive condition that is frequently referred to as a “precancer.” DCIS, on the other hand, has the ability to spread.

Breast cancer stage 0 vs. stage 1

The cancer is invasive in stage 1 breast cancer, but it is tiny and restricted to breast tissue (stage 1A), or a little number of cancer cells are identified in your nearby lymph nodes (stage 1B).

We’re talking about DCIS when we speak about stage 0 breast cancer, not stage 1 invasive breast cancer or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).

How widespread is it?

In the United States in 2021, there will be around 281,550 new cases of breast cancer.

According to a 2018 study review, DCIS accounts for around 20% of all new diagnoses.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

Previously, lobular carcinoma in situ was included in stage 0 breast cancer (LCIS). Despite the fact that the term incorporates the word carcinoma, LCIS is no longer classified as cancer. Atypical cells in your lobules are involved in LCIS, but they do not extend beyond your lobules.

LCIS is also known as “lobular neoplasia.” It may not always need therapy. However, LCIS might raise your chances of acquiring invasive cancer in the future, therefore regular check-ups are essential.

What is the treatment for stage 0 breast cancer?

According to a 2017 study review trusted Source, mastectomy, or the removal of your breast, was originally the conventional therapy for stage 0 breast cancer. However, it is not always required in today’s world.

The following are some of the reasons to contemplate mastectomy:

  • DCIS is present in more than one area of your breast.
  • You can’t undergo radiation treatment
  • the region is too huge in relation to your breast size,
  • and you’d rather have a mastectomy than a lumpectomy with radiation therapy.

While a mastectomy eliminates your whole breast, a lumpectomy simply removes the DCIS and a narrow margin surrounding it. Lumpectomy may also be referred to as breast-conserving surgery or extensive local excision. This maintains the majority of your breast and may eliminate the need for reconstructive surgery.

Radiation treatment employs high-energy beams to kill any abnormal cells that may have remained after surgery. Radiation treatment may be used after a lumpectomy or mastectomy for stage 0 breast cancer. Treatments are administered five days a week for many weeks.

If the DCIS is hormone receptor-positive (HR+), hormone treatment may be administered to reduce the risk of developing invasive breast cancer later in life. Because each situation is unique, consult with your doctor about the advantages and risks of each treatment option.


Chemotherapy is a treatment that is intended to reduce tumors and eradicate cancer cells throughout the body. Because stage 0 breast cancer is benign, systemic therapy is usually not required.

Do you have any symptoms?

Stage 0 breast cancer usually causes no symptoms, however, it may sometimes produce a breast lump or bloody flow from your nipple.

Who is most likely to get stage 0 breast cancer?

Although the actual etiology of stage 0 breast cancer is unknown, the illness may be more likely in patients who have:

  • Increase Ageing
  • a family history of typical hyperplasia or other benign breast illness
  • a family history of breast cancer or genetic abnormalities that increase the risk of breast cancer, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2,
  • having their first child after the age of 30, or never having been pregnant,
  • having their first period before the age of 12, or beginning menopause after the age of 55

There are also certain lifestyle variables that may be changed to lower your chances of acquiring the illness, such as:

  • being physically sedentary
  • gaining weight after menopause and using hormone replacement treatment or some hormonal oral contraceptives
  • consuming alcoholic beverages and smoking

How can you know if you have stage 0 breast cancer?

If you see a lump or other changes in your breasts, consult your doctor. Discuss your family’s cancer history and how often you should be tested. During mammography screening, stage 0 breast cancer is often discovered. Your doctor may request diagnostic mammography or another imaging test, such as an ultrasound, in the aftermath of a worrisome mammogram.

If there is still any doubt regarding the worrisome location, a biopsy will be required. Cancer can only be diagnosed via biopsies. The doctor will use a needle to extract a tissue sample for this. A pathologist will analyze the tissue using a microscope and report back to your doctor. The pathology report will indicate if atypical cells are present and, if so, how aggressive they are.


Taking care of your mental health

When you find out you have stage 0 breast cancer, you must face some difficult options. It’s critical to have an in-depth conversation with your doctor regarding your diagnosis. If you don’t understand the diagnosis or your treatment choices, ask for clarification.

There’s a lot to consider. Speak with your doctor if you’re feeling nervous, stressed, or having difficulties dealing with the diagnosis and treatment. They may direct you to local assistance services.

Here are a few more things to think about:

  • Seek the help of friends and family.
  • Consult a therapist or mental health professional.
  • Participate in an online or in-person support group. Support Programs and Services of the American Cancer Society The Trusted Source page gives information on resources available online or in your community. You may also live chat with a professional or phone the hotline at 1-800-227-2345 if you reside in the United States.

Among the stress and anxiety-relieving strategies are:

  • Yoga or meditation exercises
  • Exercising your deep breathing
  • massage therapy (ask your doctor first)
  • Getting adequate sleep every night
  • eating a healthy diet and practicing gratitude

What is the prognosis?

Breast cancer at stage 0 may develop extremely slowly and may never proceed to invasive carcinoma. It is treated with success.

According to the American Cancer Society, women who have had DCIS are roughly ten times more likely than those who have never had DCIS to have invasive breast cancer. An observational study trusted Source looked at over 100,000 women diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer in 2015. The researchers predicted the 10-year negative prognosis for breast cancer to be 1.1 percent and the 20-year negative outlook to be 3.3 percent.

Women with DCIS had a 1.8-fold higher risk of dying from breast cancer than women in the general population. Women diagnosed before the age of 35 had a worse perspective than older women, and African Americans had a worse view than white participants.

It is vital to emphasize that the stress of enduring racism, discrimination, and racist institutions may have had a role in the above-mentioned healthcare inequalities. For all of these reasons, your doctor may advise you to get screenings more regularly than if you had never had DCIS.

The main point

Although stage 0 breast cancer is considered benign, it should not be neglected. If you suspect you have a lump in your breast, see your doctor discuss the best next actions. They will assist you in navigating the diagnostic and treatment process.

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