BACKGROUND: To examine variation in time and place in axillary staging and treatment of patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast. METHODS: Trends in patients with DCIS recorded in the Eindhoven Cancer Registry diagnosed in 1991-2010 (n = 2449) were examined. RESULTS: The use of breast conserving surgery (BCS) went from 17% to 67% in 1991-2010 and administration of radiotherapy after BCS increased to 89%. Axillary lymph node dissection decreased to almost 0%, while sentinel node biopsy was performed in 65% of patients in 2010. The proportion who underwent BCS varied between hospitals from 49% to 80%; the proportion without axillary staging ranged from 21% to 60%. Patients with screen-detected DCIS were more likely to receive BCS. CONCLUSION: There was considerable variation in the use of BCS, radiotherapy, and axillary staging of DCIS over time and between hospitals. Patients with DCIS were more likely to be treated with BCS if their disease was detected by screening.