Background: The increased incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast and the emergence of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools like mammographic screening, stereotactic core biopsy and reconstructive surgery prompted us to investigate how these developments influenced diagnosis and treatment. Methods: Clinical and pathological characteristics of 403 patients with DCIS consecutively treated at The Netherlands Cancer Institute between 1986 and 2002 were evaluated and the effect of introduction of mammographic screening, stereotactic core biopsy and reconstruction on diagnosis and treatment was studied. Results: Following the nationwide introduction of mammographic screening the number of non-symptomatic DCIS increased from 47 to 77%. Introduction of stereotactic core biopsy resulted in a rise of one-step procedures from 26 to 52%. Mastectomy rate did not change over time: 59% overall. However, reconstruction rate increased from 17 to 39%. Conclusion: This study shows a steep rise in diagnosis of non-symptomatic DCIS after introduction of screening. Further, the introduction of pre-operative diagnosis by stereotactic core biopsy resulted in a decrease of multiple surgical procedures. Mastectomy, with increasing application of breast reconstructions, remains an important treatment modality in the management of DCIS despite advancements in detection and diagnosis.