We’ve often discussed that from a life insurance standpoint, breast cancer caught in the in situ stage, confined to a single milk duct, offers the best options for insurability post treatment. Early stage and grade lead to better rates, quicker.

It has been thought that that DCIS is essentially stagnant, but if the tumor contains “motile” cells, the cancer cells start to wander along milk ducts and can potentially start new tumors within the same breast as they go.

This new evidence makes regular screening even more crucial, as skipping a screening could potentially allow time for a confined DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) to become mobile and create a larger, harder to control problem. Certainly with the standard treatment for DCIS being a lumpectomy, the idea of numerous sites could raise the level of the needed treatment to a mastectomy that may not have been needed if caught earlier.

“Approximately 16% of DCIS patients treated with lumpectomy alone develop recurrent breast cancer growth within 5 years of treatment.” There is some thought that, even if there is no evidence of migration, if the DCIS contains the “motile” cells, there may be enough reason to consider radiation in addition to a lumpectomy.

Bottom line. As much as it is a imposition to have to schedule and follow through with regular screening, breast cancer, any cancer, caught early can save your life. The difference between early detection and high stage and grade cancer can mean the difference between getting good rates for life insurance in the future and not getting life insurance at all.