Dana Farber creates center for women with earliest form of breast cancer

Boston-based Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center is launching a program dedicated to the needs of patients with ductal carcinoma in situ — the earliest form of breast cancer. 

It will be the only program dedicated to ductal carcinoma in situ in the Northeast, according to an Oct. 7 news release. DCIS is a type of breast cancer in which cancerous cells grow but are confined within the milk duct of the breast. Most patients experience no outward symptoms, with about 80 percent of cases diagnosed by routine mammography. 

The program at Dana-Farber will provide clinical care and access to clinical trials specific to DCIS. Its specialized team includes breast cancer surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. In addition to clinical care, the team will lead research on this form of breast cancer. 

"DCIS is a distinctly different diagnosis than invasive breast cancer," said Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, co-director of the breast cancer clinical research program at the cancer center and co-director of the new DCIS program. 

"Surprisingly little is known about why DCIS arises in the first place and which cases are likely to progress to invasive disease. Our new program will provide women with outstanding, state-of-the-art care while facilitating research that will help improve our understanding of the underlying biology of DCIS, which in turn may provide insight into better ways to treat these patients."

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