Paget disease of nipple

General or Other | - Others | Paget disease of nipple (Disease)


Paget disease of the breast (also known as Paget disease of the nipple and mammary Paget disease) is a rare type of cancer involving the skin of the nipple and, usually, the darker circle of skin around it, which is called the areola. Most people with Paget disease of the breast also have one or more tumors inside the same breast. These breast tumors are either ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer.

Causes and Risk factors

Malignant cells known as Paget cells are a telltale sign of Paget disease of the breast. These cells are found in the epidermis (surface layer) of the skin of the nipple and the areola. Paget cells often have a large, round appearance under a microscope; they may be found as single cells or as small groups of cells within the epidermis. Most patients diagnosed with Pagets disease of the nipple are over age 50, but rare cases have been diagnosed in patients in their 20s. The average age at diagnosis is 62 for women and 69 for men. The disease is rare among both women and men.

Pagets disease causes the skin on and around the nipple to become red, sore, and flaky, or scaly. At first, these symptoms tend to come and go. Over time, symptoms of Pagets disease usually worsen and may include itching, tingling, and/or a burning sensation, pain and sensitivity, scaling and thickening of the skin, flattening of the nipple, yellowish or bloody discharge from the nipple.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A history and physical exam will be performed. A biopsy of the nipple establishes the diagnosis. Surgery is the standard treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be administered depending on the extent of disease.