Paget’s disease, cancer of the breast

I’ve just been sent one of those e-mails that do the rounds to alert the whole world to the cause. I usually delete these as we have a bit of a work policy to do so (they can create havoc with our mailing systems). But today’s mail was about paget’s disease, a lesser known type of breast cancer. I’d never heard of it and so had to do a little research only to find that yes, this was of concern. If I’ve not heard of it, then maybe you haven’t either.

Paget’s Disease

Paget’s disease can develop as a rash on the breast similar to that of a nursing mother.
It is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole It appeared as a rash, similar to that which a nursing mother may have. This may later become a lesion with a crusty outer edge. You may never suspect breast cancer, but it is. Sometimes, it may itch and be sore but it may not bother you at all, other than be ugly and a nuisance which doesn’t clear up.

The danger is in overlooking the rash, which can start as a simple red pimple which seemed to be harmless, often seeming to be just inflammation or infection.

So here is the rundown of symptoms:

1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn
2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal
3. Usually only one nipple is effected

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breasts, done immediately. Even though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on.