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Everything You Need To Know About Paget’s Disease Of The Breast

Everything You Need To Know About Paget’s Disease Of The Breast

The present condition of your breasts can say a lot about your health. For example, a bump, rash, or even bug bite-like spots that won’t go away may be an indication of Paget’s disease of the breast.

Paget’s disease of the breast is a form of breast cancer in which the cancer cells form around the nipple. It is characterized by inflammation of the nipple area, extending to the areola. This condition is a rare type of breast cancer. It occurs mostly in women ages 50 and above. Those who are diagnosed are also likely to have an underlying ductal breast cancer. Read on to know more about this disease, including its symptoms and treatment.

Signs and symptoms

The early tell-tale signs of this condition includes redness and flaking of the skin around the nipple. Itchiness will also likely develop, but may go away over time. This is why it’s easy to mistake the symptoms of Paget’s disease of the breast to regular dermatitis or other skin conditions.

Here are some other symptoms you might want to watch out for:

  • Crusty, hardened skin formation on the nipple and areola
  • Extreme itchiness
  • A tingling or burning sensation
  • Red or yellowish discharge from the nipples
  • Flattened or inverted nipple
  • A lump in the breast area

Paget’s disease of the breast usually occurs in one breast only. If it is not caught early, the disease may spread beyond the areola to the other areas of the breast.

Who is at risk for Paget’s disease of the breast?

Paget’s disease of the breast is very rare. Its main cause has yet to be identified. Most experts believe that the disease stems from an underlying breast cancer.

However, there are certain factors that could increase your likelihood of getting this disease:

  • Age, with the chances of getting diagnosed growing higher as you age
  • A personal or family history of breast cancer
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Race, with Caucasian women more likely to get the disease
  • Regular alcohol consumption
  • Using hormone replacement therapy

Diagnosis

A clinical breast exam and physical exam are always the first step to determine if you have the disease. Any breast lumps or changes in nipple appearance will be checked by the doctor.

If there are no visible signs, a biopsy will be taken. A small portion of the nipple skin is taken to be examined. If there is discharge, a sample of the discharged fluid will be collected as well.

In the case where lumps do appear, a part of your breast tissue will be examined for Paget’s cells.

Some doctors also order a mammogram to check if there is an abnormal cell growth around the nipple area.

What are the Causes of Breast Cancer?

Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with Paget’s disease of the breast, you will likely need surgery. Your surgical options include:

  • Simple mastectomy or the removal of your entire breast
  • Lumpectomy, which only removes the affected tissue preserving much of your breast’s natural shape and appearance

There are cases where after the surgery, you will also be required to undergo additional treatments to permanently kill off the cancer cells, or prevent them from coming back. These treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.

Preventative measures

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a good way to prevent Paget’s disease of the breast. Some steps you can take include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Learning how to perform a breast self-exam
  • Going to checkups or breast screenings

If you are at high risk for Paget’s disease of the breast, it is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options or preventative measures you can take.

Key takeaway

If you have Paget’s disease of the breast, prognosis tends to be good, especially when there are no tumors involved or the disease has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

It is easy to mistake its symptoms for regular dermatitis. Following this, it is ideal that you go for regular breast examinations to determine if there are developing diseases. Once diagnosed, treatment options are readily available, including surgery.

Learn more about Breast Cancer here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Paget’s disease of the breast, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263015/

Accessed March 23, 2021 

 

Paget’s disease of the breast , https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pagets-disease-of-the-breast/symptoms-causes/syc-20351079

Accessed March 23, 2021 

 

Paget’s Disease of the Nipple, https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/pagets

Accessed March 23, 2021 

 

Paget’s Disease of the Breast , https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/pagets-disease-of-the-breast/

Accessed March 23, 2021 

 

Paget’s Disease of the Breast, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/p/pagets-disease-of-the-breast.html

Accessed March 23, 2021

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Written by Honey Buenaventura Updated May 03
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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