What Are The Early Signs Of Paget’s Disease Of The Breast & How Do You Test For It?

Initial signs and symptoms of Paget’s Disease of the breast include differences in appearance in your nipple accompanied by redness and itchiness.1,2

X-ray, scan, and blood tests are commonly used tests to diagnose Paget’s disease.3

Blood tests can measure and evaluate a variety of factors and are very potential in the diagnosis of Paget’s Disease of the Breast.4

Paget’s disease of the breast is a rare form of breast cancer that occurs at the duct of the nipple most commonly in women. It starts with the nipple and spreads around the entire region of the nipple and the areola. When individuals get affected by this condition, Paget’s patients experience pain, itchiness ad irritation in those areas.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancer typically involved with Paget disease of the breast. Paget’s disease affects both men and women however it typically affects women at a higher ratio.

What Are The Early Signs Of Paget’s Disease Of The Breast?

Paget’s disease of the breast outwardly may have the appearance of eczema, with skin transformations including the nipple of the breast. For several forms of breast melanoma, the early sign is a bump in the breast. Treatments of this condition may include radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and surgery. Surgery involves the removal of the affected tissue either using breast-sparing techniques or may require removal of the entire breast.

The signs and symptoms of Paget’s disease often resemble other types of cancer. Women affected with this condition often suffer from an underlying condition that eventually affects the milk ducts. Initial signs and symptoms of Paget’s Disease of the breast include differences in appearance in your nipple accompanied by redness and itchiness.1 Some other possible signs and symptoms of Paget’s disease include

  • Flaky or scaly skin around the nipple that does not heal over time
  • Bloody or yellow fluid from your nipple
  • Disorientation of the nipple that often looks flattened
  • a crusted lesion with irregular edges
  • itchy, painful, or cause a burning sensation.
  • Bleeds ulcerate and may scab over.

If it is a normal skin problem like eczema, it may resolve with topical ointments and medications however when you experience your symptoms for more than a month and don’t show any improvement, seek immediate medical attention.2

How Do You Test For Paget’s Disease Of The Breast?

If you have any of the above warning sign and they continue despite medication, get them examined by a breast consultant. X-ray, scan, and blood test are the commonly used tests to diagnose Paget’s disease Some of the tests for Paget’s disease include

A Physical Examination Of The Breast – During your physical exam, your doctor check for anomalies in the breast and its adjacent areas. They also check for the thickness and lumpiness in the breast.

Blood Tests- Blood tests can measure and evaluate a variety of factors and are very potential in the diagnosis of Paget’s Disease of the Breast.

X-ray- When you show the above symptoms, your doctor may suggest an x-ray examination to distinguish whether it is just a nipple or something associated with breast cancer.

Urine Test- Although urine tests are not potential enough to identify the malignancy, yet they are found to be most effective in monitoring the patient’s response to the treatment. Urine test shows the presence of excess calcium and rapid changes in the bone.3,4

References:

  1. “Paget’s Disease of the Breast.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Mar. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pagets-disease-of-the-breast/symptoms-causes/syc-20351079
  2. “Paget’s Disease of the Breast.” NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), 21 June 2016, rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/pagets-disease-of-the-breast/
  3. “How Is Paget’s Disease of Bone Diagnosed?” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/pagets/diagnosed.
  4. “Paget’s Disease: Symptoms and Diagnosis.” Breastcancer.org, 23 June 2016, www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/pagets/sympt_diag.

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