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Paget’s Disease

Paget’s disease is a rare type of breast cancer that occurs in the ducts adjacent to the nipple and areola and spreads to the skin of the nipple and the areola. Accounting for only one percent of breast cancers, it is a rare presentation.

Paget’s disease is usually associated with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and is limited to the nipple and areola area of the breast. It accounts for only one percent of all breast cancer cases.

What are the symptoms of Paget’s disease?

  • Redness and irritation of the nipple and/or areola
  • Crusting and scaling of the nipple area
  • Bleeding from the nipple/areola
  • Oozing from the nipple/areola
  • Burning and/or itching of the nipple/areola

How is Paget’s disease diagnosed?

Same Day Results

Most women can learn within 24 hours of being seen by our breast cancer specialists if they have breast cancer or not. We follow strict guidelines for biopsies and pathology reports. Our patients are given the probability of cancer immediately following their biopsy procedure, and receive a pathology confirmation usually within 24 hours.

Because of the skilled expertise of our pathologists who specialize in breast cancer, we are able to accurately diagnose Paget’s disease. As with any cancer, early detection and diagnosis results in better outcomes for the patient. Despite the rarity of this type of breast cancer, the specialists at our Breast Center are experienced in managing the evaluation and treatment of this disease.

Learn more about the steps of diagnosis, including:

What is the treatment for Paget’s disease?

If the breast cancer is limited to Paget’s disease, treatment includes the surgical removal of the nipple and areola, as well as a margin of healthy tissue around the areola. This can usually be accomplished through lumpectomy, or mastectomy if preferred. Your physician may recommend a combination of any of the following:

  • Lumpectomy – Due to the location of this cancer, some women will opt to have the nipple and areola removed along with a sufficient amount of tissue underneath to ensure removal of the cancer cells. This is known as a central lumpectomy. It is followed by radiation.
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal therapy

What is the prognosis for Paget’s disease?

If the biopsy shows DCIS, stage 0 cancer and no invasive cancer, the prognosis is excellent.