Carcinoma in situ is present when a tumor has been detected that has the characteristics of malignancy but has not invaded other tissues. Many forms of cancer are initially carcinomasin situ, but are not detected early enough.
Many clinicians would not refer to carcinoma in situ as "cancer" when relating results to a patient. Conversely, although many are treated much the same way as a proven malignancy, there may be important differences in the therapeutical management.
Carcinoma in situ: Cancer that involves only the place in which it began and that has not spread.
For example, squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease) is an early cancer of the skin.
The term "in situ" (borrowed from the Romans) means "in the natural or normal place" and, in the case of cancer, it means that the tumor cells are still confined to the site where they originated and they have neither invaded neighboring tissues nor metastasized afar.
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