Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DICS) means Ductal (duct) Carcinoma (cancer) in Situ (in its original place).

DCIS is the earliest form of breast cancer. The cancer cells are confined to the ducts of the breast and not the surrounding tissue. DCIS is much less common in men than women, and only 7% of breast cancers in men are DCIS.

Most DCIS in men are of the papillary type, which refers to the microscopic shape of the cancer cells which resemble fingers or threads. It is considered stage 0, which is not a life threatening condition; it is non-invasive and can almost always be cured. However, in some cases if left untreated it could develop the ability to spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts. Once the cancer cells have spread outside the lining of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding tissue, it is called invasive breast cancer which accounts for 9 out of 10 breast cancer in men.

The exact cause of DCIS in men is unknown, but some causes are believed to be; family history of breast cancer, hormone exposure, alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of exercise, and age.

Most men do not experience any symptoms, but some that do, may notice:

  • A painless lump under the nipple or areola
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • An inverted nipple
  • Rash on the nipple

If any of these symptoms occur, your doctor will most likely send you to a specialist for advice or treatment. If breast cancer is suspected the doctor may order a mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsy, and blood tests. If the tests are positive, further tests most likely will be ordered to determine where the cancer is and at what stage.

No increase in breast cancer risk has been found associated with gynecomastia. Men are less likely to be diagnosed in the early stages than women, but due to increased awareness of breast cancer in men, early detection at the non-invasive stage has increased.

Not everyone that has DCIS will develop invasive breast cancer but it is impossible to predict who will and who won’t, most surgeons believe the preferred treatment is a customized multidisciplinary treatment plan for each patient.

Dr. Delgado states that out of many hundreds of men he has treated for gynecomastia, only one man who was in his forties, developed DCIS. That patient went on to have further treatment.  This is the reason that Dr. Delgado submits breast tissue samples to pathology in most cases. This article is written to heighten the awareness of this issue.