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Paget's disease of the nipple


Paget's disease of the nipple is a rare disease that affects women over the age of 40. It is a particular form of cancer that develops in the superficial part of the mammary gland. In most cases, cancer of the underlying breast is found, but this disease can sometimes develop on its own. It should not be confused with another condition called "Paget's disease", which is a bone disease causing the increased size and deformation of certain bones.


Paget's disease of the nipple usually occurs on one nipple as follows:
  • redness around the nipple;
  • itching;
  • a nipple that is thickened and hard;
  • lesions may initially point to eczema;
  • nipple discharge;
  • crusting;
  • general changes in the nipple.


The diagnosis of Paget's disease of the nipple is difficult to make, because the symptoms are similar to those of eczema. An examination is then valuable to know if there is a family history of breast cancer. Palpation of the breasts is important to allow for the identification of any associated mass. In case of persistent skin lesions and their evolution, an ultrasound or mammography, a breast X-ray, will be realized. A biopsy of the nipple is sometimes necessary.


Treatment of Paget's disease of the nipple depends on the association or not of underlying cancer and the progress of the possible tumor. In general, partial or total removal of the breast is necessary. It is frequently associated with the removal of lymph nodes in the armpit to prevent the spreading of cancer cells. Radiotherapy or chemotherapy will sometimes be a follow-up to the surgery.


Paget's disease of the nipple cannot be prevented. However, screening for breast cancer is highly recommended insofar as this condition is frequently associated with breast cancer.

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