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Do I have cancer? Do I have cancer?

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Unread 05-18-2003, 10:16 PM
Do I have cancer?

Ok, I was pretty clear on the fact that I don't, and I have been doing some research again tonight (as I am trying to learn everything I can here) and I read on a website that "carcinoma in situ is cancer in the earliest stage". Now, I realize that I do not have INVASIVE cancer, but I thought it was still pre-cancer. I know that it doesn't really make a difference, I am having the procedure anyway to prevent invasive, but I am not clear on what that means exactly. I should probably clear it up with my doctor, but I am not going to call the office right now... If anyone has a way to clear it up, I would be so very appreciative. Thanks for all support, ladies. I read the threads here several times a day, and all of you are wonderful!
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Unread 05-19-2003, 07:51 AM
Carcinoma in situ


Last November I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) -- a form of breast cancer. As I understand it, in situ = in place -- in other words the tumor has not spread, it is in one location. In the case of DCIS, the tumor is contained in a milk duct and is a slow-growing.

I believe I read and doctor(s) told me that it is pre-cancer condition. I am sure it is cancer, but some refer to it as pre because it has not spread. I believe one of my doctors told me, "It is not cancer." That I don't believe. It is. But a number of nurses and doctors told me that if you have to have someting [breast cancer], it is the best to have. I feel very, very lucky that DCIS was my diagnosis.

That is probably true of all carcinomas in situ.

Mary D.
Unread 05-19-2003, 10:31 AM
Do I have cancer?

My dr always talked in terms of '"mild, moderate, severe dysplasia". When I had my first follow up after my hyst he told me that I was lucky because they found a lesion that was still a precancer but next step was cancer. I got my path report a few weeks later and saw CIS. I brought the question it here also.

I did a lot of researching on the web and found that many sites referred to it as a Stage 0 cancer and many included it in the precancer catagory. I went to a women's site that has a dr who answers questions. His response to me was that it was not a cancer because no invasion.

The important thing is that it's treated as a pre-cancer. Once it's removed there is no further routine treatment required. I just need more frequent paps to watch for abnormalities on the vaginal wall.

I just edited this because I wrote "Stage 1 instead of 0"...sorry!
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Unread 05-19-2003, 12:25 PM
Cancer vs. pre-cancer

Hi gals,

This is a very interesting question and I think it really shows how difficult it is to differerentiate between high-grade CIN and CIS. Anyway, for what it's worth, I've found what I think is a good definition at and I've posted the link below.

Basically it says that CIS is a very early-stage cancer; with the term in situ indicating that the cancer has not invaded, as was mentioned in a previous post.

I think some docs don't call "IS's" cancers because they haven't invaded yet, and the ability to invade other tissues and to grow uncontrollably are two of the hallmarks of cancer cells.

My personal theory: it's early cancer, and you don't want to mess around with it.

Here's the link:

Good Luck Beth!

Unread 05-19-2003, 01:56 PM
In situ is cancer

Exactly, Chicklet. It IS cancer -- just not invasive as yet. At least in the case of DCIS, I am told could take as much as 10 or more years for tumor to grow enough to burst the milk duct and then spread. I think of DCIS as very, very, very early breast cancer. And that is still cancer. "Out, d _ _ n spot."

Mary D.
Unread 05-19-2003, 02:40 PM
Do I have cancer?

Thank you for all the information, ladies. Like I said, it doesn't change what they are going to do, but for some reason it changes my mindset... I will make sure that no woman in my family (sister, daughter, niece, or otherwise) ever misses a yearly exam!! Never would've expected this at my age. Take care, bless all of you.
Unread 05-19-2003, 08:57 PM
Do I have cancer?

This is such an interesting topic because there are so many different ways to look at it. Essentially when you have cervical carcinoma-in-situ, only the surface cells are abnormal (the cells in the "skin" of the cervix). Once those cells break through the basement membrane and into the underlying tissue, it is a true cancer (meaning it's invasive). So, really, when you have CIS, you have cancer waiting to happen. However, several studies out there indicate that if left alone, many cases of CIS would never progress to a true, invasive cancer. You have to have it treated though--you never know if your case will turn invasive or stay as CIS. Regardless of it's cancer or not, the treatment is the same. And perhaps for some women it's easier to deal with it when they consider it to be cancer, and some find it easier to deal with as precancer. Personally, I consider myself extremely lucky that it was not invasive, and I tell myself that it was a precancer and that I'd best take excellent care of myself because I may not be as lucky next time.

One thing I find important/helpful though (that's in our favor), as long as it's CIS, most insurance companies don't consider it to be cancer. That's important when it comes to pre-existing conditions and such.

So, whatever you call it, we're still lucky to have caught it early, and it's still important that we be proactive about our health and the health of all the women we love.

May we all find health, happiness, and peace!

Unread 05-20-2003, 11:32 PM
I Vote No!

I had an LAVH last October for CIS or CIN III. My gynecologist stressed repeatedly that I did NOT have cancer-yet, and as Jeanine pointed out, they don't ever know which ones will progress to cancer and which won't. The nurse agreed with him, and said it is a Pre-cancerous condition, abnormal tissue cells on the surface of the cervix.

I guess if I had to fill out a questionaire for insurance, I'd feel like I could honestly answer that I've never actually been diagonosed with cancer.

Last month, sadly, my younger sister passed away from breast cancer though, and at her funeral, a distant cousin came up to me and blurted out, "How are you? How's YOUR cancer?"!! Good grief, some people can be so insensitive! I just told her it was gone, and she said, "Well, I hope so!" Puh-lease! whatever it was, was in my cervix, I no longer have a cervix- so therefore, I'm quite sure it's gone. I'm more concerned with the hereditary factors of the breast cancer now!
Unread 05-21-2003, 06:24 AM
Do I have cancer?

I am so happy this site is here. My hysterectomy was scheduled for 5/15/03 (SAH for uterine fibroids, but ended up having a TAH).

I found out 2 days prior to surgery that my pap came back abnormal (severe displasia). This shocked me because I have never had an abnormal pap and have gone every year since I can remember. The doctor suggested that we continue with the surgery plan but he would have to do a cold cone frozen section before beginning the hysterectomy. If it was invasive cancer they would not do the hyst that day and schedule a gyn oncologist to operate at a later date. I had no idea when they put me to sleep how I would wake up. The first face I saw when I woke up was my dh and all I wanted to know was whether or not it was cancer. He told me it was cancer but it was non-invasive (carcinoma in situ). The doctor had to remove my cervix. My doctor did call this cancer, but cancer that is contained and not invaded.

I will still have to have yearly paps. That part I don't understand. I assume since I don't have a cervix they just swab the vaginal wall.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Unread 05-21-2003, 01:16 PM
Do I have cancer?

i also have dcis. dcis is contained in the duct and is non invasive.
my surgean told me that many years ago they used to call this pre cancer but now call it stage 0 breast cancer. whichever it is (and I believe that it is cancer) it was still a serious enough disease which caused me to remove my breast.

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