Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)/Lobular Neoplasia
Some women with LCIS who are very concerned with developing breast cancer (such as those who also have a strong family history of breast cancer and/or a proven genetic mutation) opt for the preventive removal of both breasts, a procedure called a prophylactic mastectomy. Research shows that prophylactic mastectomy markedly reduces a womanâ€™s risk of developing breast cancer for those at high risk. Prophylactic mastectomy may be followed by immediate or delayed breast reconstruction.
While a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy removes the majority of breast tissue and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, it is impossible to remove every breast cell. Thus, it is still possible to develop breast cancer even if both breasts are removed. According to Lynn C. Hartman, MD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, if only three cells are left after a mastectomy, cancer could develop from those three cells. In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, three of 214 women who had prophylactic bilateral mastectomies between 1960 to 1993 developed breast cancer and two of the women later died.
The option of taking medication to reduce breast cancer risk is also available to women with LCIS. In a large clinical trial conducted by researchers with the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), 13,388 women who were at high risk of developing breast cancer were given either the drug tamoxifen or a placebo (sugar pill) to determine whether tamoxifen could lower the risk of breast cancer. All of the women in the study had a history of LCIS and/or other risk factors for breast cancer (such as a family history or atypical hyperplasia, an abnormal increase in the number of breast cells, diagnosed by a previous breast biopsy). The trial revealed a 49% decrease in the incidence of invasive breast cancer in women who were given tamoxifen in the study compared with women who took the placebo (sugar pill).
As a result of the NSABP trial, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of tamoxifen for women at high risk of breast cancer. Many women with LCIS take tamoxifen to help prevent breast cancer. Women with LCIS are encouraged to discuss the possibility of taking tamoxifen with their physicians.
Additional Resources and References
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides information on LCIS at http://www.cancer.gov/
- The American Cancer Society provides information on LCIS at http://www.cancer.org/
- To learn more about LCIS and other types of breast cancer, please visit http://www.imaginis.com/breasthealth/breast_cancer.asp
Updated: December 2010