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How Aggressive Is Paget’s Disease Of The Breast & How Fast Does It Progress?

Paget’s disease of the breast is a rare form of cancer and it forms around or in the nipple. The problem involved in approximately 1percent to 4percent of total breast cancers. The problem has a link with invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ i.e. any other underlying breast cancer.(1)

Paget’s disease causes changes more or less similar to eczema to the dark skin area surrounding the nipple i.e. areola and the nipple skin. The problem often indicates a type of breast cancer within the tissue behind your nipple. The disease initially begins in the nipple and later on, extends to the areola. The problem causes scaly rash, red spot on the areola, and nipple skin. The affected skin also becomes inflamed and sore, while it becomes itchy or causes burning sensation, while the nipple sometimes ulcerates.(2)

Most of the doctors until now do not know the exact cause of Paget’s disease of the breast and/or nipple. However, they have revealed a common theory, according to which tumor cells migrate from the milk ducts and approach the areola and nipple. A few people develop this type of disease do not experience breast tumors.(3)

How Aggressive Is Paget’s Disease Of The Breast?

Most of the doctors consider Paget’s disease of the breast as a noninvasive type of cancer. Because of this, it is a non-aggressive or slow-progressing cancerous disease.(4)

Patients suffering from Paget’s disease of the breast have distinctive tumor cells i.e. Paget cells in the epidermis i.e. outermost skin layer of the nipple. Many women suffering from this type of disorder have malignancy i.e. underlying cancer, which affects the ductal carcinoma i.e. milk ducts. Here, milk ducts refer to channels responsible for carrying the milk secreted from the breast lobes towards the nipple.(5)

How Fast Does Paget’s Disease Of The Breast Progress?

Progression of the Paget’s disease of the breast depends on its symptoms:

We can determine the progression of the Paget’s disease of the breast according to its underlying symptoms. This is because; the symptoms vary largely according to the stage of your disease’s development. The problem mainly takes place in only one breast but in some cases, the disease occurs in both of the breasts. Common symptoms of the Paget’s disease are-

  • Tingling, itching or burning of the areola and across the nipple
  • Pigmentation or redness
  • Scaling, thickening or flaking of one’s skin across the nipple and it never heals with time
  • Yellow discharge from the nipple or sometimes discharge of the blood
  • Inverted or flattened nipples
  • Crust lesions, which have irregular edges
  • Problem of ulceration

Other than this, a few of the patients suffering from Paget’s disease of the breast have an oozing, crusty, or hard skin that resembles eczema on the areola, nipple, or both. Along with this, with the progression of Paget’s disease, the patient has a burning sensation. During this situation, the skin suffers severe destruction, which prompts patients to consult their doctors.(6)


To conclude, we should say that Paget’s disease of the breast does not belong to the category of aggressive disease. However, regarding the progression of the disease, we should say that it depends on the specific stage and the underlying symptoms.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 23, 2020

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