Stage 0 Breast Cancer (DCIS)Treatment

stage zero breast cancer treatment

Most of us have heard the word “stage” used to describe how advanced someone’s cancer is. But if you have been diagnosed with stage 0 (zero)  breast cancer, you might be wondering what that actually means and what is the best stage zero breast cancer treatment.

What Is Stage 0 Breast Cancer?

Stage 0 breast cancer refers to a very localized cancer that is currently non-invasive and has not spread to surrounding tissues. The term usually describes:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) — where abnormal cells are found only in the lining of the milk ducts

Stage 0 breast cancer is considered very treatable and has a 10-year survival rate of close to 100% when patients are treated quickly and appropriately.

What Is the Best Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment?

The best stage zero breast cancer treatment will vary depending on your case presentation and your personal risk factors and preferences. Standard treatment options range from more conservative lumpectomy to double mastectomy for stage zero breast cancer.

Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment Options 



Active Surveillance

Involves frequent clinical breast exams, mammograms, ultrasounds, and breast MRIs. Increased surveillance lets you start interventional treatment as soon as there are signs of disease progression.

Active surveillance might be the best option for elderly individuals or those with significant comorbidities that make surgery riskier.


(Oncoplastic Reduction)

Surgical removal of all cancerous tissue and a margin of healthy tissue surrounding the area.


It preserves the breast while removing the abnormal cells and is appropriate for very localized cancer cells.

Adjunct Treatments

Radiation therapy or hormone therapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells or block estrogen receptors may be recommended after lumpectomy to reduce the risk of recurrence.


Complete removal of one or both breasts and all associated breast tissues. Mastectomy prevents the spread or recurrence of breast cancer. 

Ultimately, the stage 0 breast cancer treatment you choose is a personal one that should be made in consultation with your oncology team and plastic surgeon. Since the cancer is localized and currently non-invasive, there are a range of treatment options available to you, but it’s important you don’t put off making these decisions.

A common treatment option for DCIS is an oncoplastic lumpectomy and reduction (also called an oncoplastic reconstruction). Oncoplastic reconstruction includes two procedures completed by two different surgeons, one right after the other. First, the oncology breast surgeon will perform a lumpectomy, and then a plastic surgeon will perform a breast reconstruction and a reduction if needed to improve the symmetry of both breasts.

You need to discuss the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes of all treatment options with your doctors so you can make comprehensive, informed decisions appropriate to your case presentation and life goals.

Mastectomy Options for Stage 0 Breast Cancer

While not truly a prophylactic mastectomy, choosing a double mastectomy for stage zero cancer treatment has many of the same benefits.

Mastectomy brings with it peace of mind knowing you don’t have to continually screen to see if your cancer has metastasized. Choosing a mastectomy this early in treatment also means your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon can plan your mastectomy with the final reconstruction results in mind.

An immediate reconstruction after mastectomy means you never have to know a time without having breasts. While there are many pros and cons to weigh, women who choose an early mastectomy and work with a plastic surgeon from the start of treatment almost never regret their decision.

Another benefit to consulting early with your plastic surgeon is being able to choose the right type of mastectomy and reconstruction to match your desired treatment outcomes.

Common Oncoplastic Techniques



Plastic surgeons are a great resource for information on all your surgical treatment options, whether you are interested in increased surveillance, an oncoplastic reduction, or a double mastectomy, choosing a plastic surgeon-first consult can help you feel more sure of your decisions.

A plastic surgeon-first consult can help you sort through all your available surgery and reconstruction options to find the fit that’s best for you and your life goals.

Have Questions About Stage 0 Breast Cancer Treatment? We Can Help.

Finding out you have cancer, even at stage zero, is an emotional upheaval. There are so many decisions that need to be made, and they all feel overwhelming, but consulting with an expert plastic surgeon can make the process easier and less stressful.

Harris Plastic Surgery - Your Breast Reconstruction Experts

If you are evaluating stage zero breast cancer treatment options, we can help!
Contact us online or by phone or text to discuss your choices today.
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Stephen U. Harris, MD FACS

Dr. Stephen U. Harris is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and recognized expert in breast reduction and reconstruction surgeries, having performed thousands in his career. When it comes to patient care, his philosophy is that every surgery should improve his patient’s overall quality of life, not just their appearance. Dr. Harris stays up-to-date on all the latest advancements in breast augmentation, reconstruction, and reduction and is a recognized innovator in the field. In fact, he was the first surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital to offer primary prepectoral implant breast reconstruction, as well as secondary prepectoral revision surgery.

Dr. Harris also serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York and is an active staff surgeon (and former Chief of Plastic Surgery) at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.

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