Lobular carcinoma in situ

Lobular Carcinoma in Situ or LCIS isn’t any cancer or may not always develop into cancer if left untreated. Having LCIS for a longer time may, however, increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. LCIS is also known as lobular neoplasia, and it is an uncommon condition in which abnormal cells form in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. The word ‘in situ’ means “in its original place” which indicates that the abnormal growth remains confined only to the lobule and does not spread to any other surrounding tissues.

Signs and symptoms

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is usually asymptomatic. LICS is often discovered accidentally in the biopsy report taken to assess a breast lump or microcalcifications, or in a mammogram.

Causes

The causes for LCIS are unclear. The abnormal growth in the lobules of the breast may begin when there is a genetic mutation.

Risk factors

Your may be at a risk of LCIS if:

  • You have a family history of breast cancer
  • You’re on hormone replacement therapy for menopause
  • You're in your early 40s

Complications

Having LCIS for a long time or leaving it untreated may increase your risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

Diagnosis

Most often LICS is identified when a mammogram or biopsy is taken to diagnose some other problems of the breast. LCIS does not cause any tumor which can be felt nor can it be seen on a mammogram. LCIS is often diagnosed by a biopsy.

Treatment and Prevention or self-management

LCIS does not require any treatment as such. But your doctor may suggest different approaches which help in self-management and prevention. These approaches include:

There are three main approaches to treatment:

  • Careful observation
  • Taking a medication
  • Surgery

Careful observation includes performing regular breast examinations which include

  • Frequently self-examining the breasts for detecting any unusual changes
  • Regular screening with mammograms
  • Regular screening with other imaging techniques if required

Taking medications can help to minimize the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Sometimes most of the medicines are hormones or hormone regulators

Preventive surgery is optional. It mainly depends on your risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Surgery to remove the area of the breast with LCIS is an option for women who have a family history of the disease and are at a high risk of developing invasive breast cancer. The surgical removal of the LCIS is sometimes done at the time of biopsy only.

Another option for preventive measure for those women who are at a higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer is a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Bilateral mastectomy is the surgical removal of both the breasts, not just the one which is affected with LCIS.