JOURNAL ARTICLE

The challenge of being diagnosed and treated for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

Fiona Kennedy, Diana Harcourt, Nichola Rumsey
European Journal of Oncology Nursing: the Official Journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 2008, 12 (2): 103-11
18023255
Following the introduction of the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) in the UK increasing numbers of women are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts of the breast but considerable uncertainty surrounds the condition. Patients are often reassured that it is non-invasive and not life-threatening but they are recommended similar treatments to patients with invasive breast cancer. Little research has investigated the psychosocial impact of DCIS; therefore the aim of this qualitative study was to explore women's experiences of the condition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 16 women previously diagnosed and treated for DCIS. Thematic analysis identified six key themes: (1) invisibility of DCIS, (2) uncertainty, (3) perceptions of DCIS, (4) acceptance of treatment, (5) social support and (6) moving on. The results highlight the substantial challenges faced by women diagnosed with DCIS. These findings have clear significance for healthcare professionals, especially specialist nurses, who work closely with DCIS patients.

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