Women with DCIS may benefit from radiation in addition to lumpectomy

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A new study published online August 10 by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) — cancerous changes to the cells inside the milk ducts of the breast — may have better results if they have radiation in addition to a lumpectomy.

Researchers examined 15-year outcomes in 140,000 women with DCIS who underwent either lumpectomy or mastectomy alone, or both lumpectomy and radiation. Women who had radiation in addition to lumpectomy procedures were slightly less likely to die from breast cancer than women who had either a lumpectomy or mastectomy procedure alone.

But it's not clear if other factors may have been at play. For example, researchers didn't have information on whether the women were taking the drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox), which is used to treat and prevent breast cancers, or if there were other clinical differences that led to the decision to use radiation therapy in certain women. Further study is needed to better understand the results.

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