PODCAST #31: DCIS … searching for clarity

PODCAST #31: DCIS … searching for clarity


What is DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ?

dcisIs it an incidental abnormality that only became recognized as screening mammography became more widespread and sophisticated?

Or, is it a pre-cancer that gives doctors a head start in treating breast cancer before it spreads?

These are questions that nearly 60-thousand women are faced with each year in this country.

The answers to these questions — and the questions themselves — have changed considerably over the past few years.

In this podcast you’ll hear the voices of a health care journalist who has covered DCIS, a patient whose journey with DCIS affected her so deeply she decided to become an advocate, and two breast surgeons who are at the forefront of redefining what DCIS is, and how it can be treated.

We have been closely following DCIS for many years here at HealthNewsReview.org. We thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight some resources we feel might be particularly helpful to those who want to delve a bit deeper.

A great starting point is our first PODCAST on this issue. It features Dr. Laura Esserman of UC- San Francisco, another innovator and thought leader when it comes to DCIS.

There are also several topics within DCIS that are worth highlighting. We’ve written articles on several and here’s a small sample:

When studies or news releases provide conflicting information.
The emotional landscape of DCIS as revealed on social media.
The issue of overdiagnosis.
Why do journalists often neglect DCIS?
When journalists cover it well.

In the podcast you hear Dr. Attai  praise improvements in the coverage of DCIS, but also say there’s room for improvement; in short, asking journalists to avoid fishing for sound bites and start doing more research into the complexities and nuance of the disease. I think that is what Laurie McGinley of the Washington Post — who opened this podcast — did with this article.

Mention is also made of early, slow-growing forms of thyroid and prostate cancer that may not be cancer at all. We’ve written about thyroid screening on several occasions and earlier this year produced a podcast about one man’s journey with active surveillance of prostate cancer. The similarities with DCIS are striking.

But DCIS, thyroid cancer, and prostate cancer are not alone in this. There are other examples of slow-growing abnormalities that may or may not be “pre-cancer.” It’s an area of oncology that often doesn’t get nearly enough coverage by news organizations.

A very good read on this is Dr. Gil Welch’s, Should I Be Tested For Cancer? Maybe Not and Here’s Why

We also reference patient advocate, Donna Pinto’s website. You can find it  HERE.

Finally, the COMET trial is continuing to enroll women with DCIS. More information is HERE.

Here is a link to all our podcasts.

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