Hi there can anyone tell me is pre-cancerous cancer and is there any chance of it coming back. I read the statement from mole that it is and it is worrying me in case I get it again.

Hi Lindalou

Here’s a link to the BCC publication about DCIS which you may find helpful to read:


If you wish to talk to someone about your concerns please call our helpline on 0808 800 6000 which is open weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes

Hi Lindalou,

DCIS is quite a confusing topic. When I was diagnosed with it I was told I had a pre-cancerous condition. To me, the word ‘pre’ means ‘before’ so I just accepted what my surgeon told me and went home with the leaflet that Lucy has given you a link to. However the title ‘pre-cancerous’ in terms of DCIS is an anomoly - it IS cancer.

When I started reading the leaflet I wondered what on earth was going on because it is quite clear from it that the cells ARE cancerous and they just refer to them as ‘pre-cancerous’ or ‘pre/non-invasive’. I started to think I was stupid for having signed a consent form and discussed having my radiotherapy sessions without having fully understood what was wrong. I left th leaflet for my OH to read, having already told him I had a pre-cancerous condition, and he read it and then came to me thinking that I had become confused at the hospital and he told me he thought I did have cancer.

In hindsight I should have realised I wouldn’t have radiotherapy if the cells weren’t cancerous!

I became really brassed off at the confusion over DCIS so I read lots on here and on the american site and then looked at DCIS studies to find out as much as I could about it. I scared myself to death mind - ha ha but at least I know now.

Just because the cancerous cells are ‘in situ’ within the ducts does not mean they will not become an invasive cancer. The doctors do not know whether or when they will become IDC. My Oncologist is firmly of the belief that all IDC starts out as DCIS and that over time all DCIS does go on to be IDC.

Dr Susan Love’s breast book tells how DCIS cells are exactly the same as IDC cells except that, for some reason that is still unknown, some force is holding these cells in the milk duct(s) until such time as it travels outside the ducts, if indeed it is going to.
To support this she talks of how if a low grade DCIS becomes invasive then it will become a low grade IDC and if a high grade DCIS becomes invasive then it will become a high grade IDC. What she also says is that the studies haven’t been done for a sufficiently long period and that if the studies were done over a much longer period then it may show that all DCIS does go on to become IDC but may take, say, 25 years for low grades.

I don’t think it really helps patients to confuse them in this way and believe in telling it like it is.