Paget’s Disease of Breast: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Vaibhav Saxena

, Health A2Z

Paget’s disease of breast accounts for 5% of the breast cancers worldwide which makes it plenty much of a chronic and fatal to death kind of ailment. It is a rare disease but has various serious troubles linked with it so immediate diagnosis and action is required but first learn about every aspect of it.


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What is Paget’s Disease of Breast?


Paget’s disease of the breast is a kind of cancer which shows rash like formation in the area around the nipple and shows similar signs of eczema which is another name for dermatitis which causes inflammation of the skin. This disease is named after Sir James Paget who discovered it and mentioned it in his paper of 1874.


The occurrence of this disease is due to the rapid division of Paget cells. Under a microscope, Paget’s cells look very different from normal cells which shows the presence of estrogen, progesterone receptors, and HER2 protein. This disease can acquire both women and men at a certain age bar. This unusual growth of cell causes a change in color of the skin and becomes a life-threatening disease.




What are the Symptoms of Paget’s Disease of Breast?


The very first sign emerges on the skin of nipple which later spreads to the areola (the area around the nipple).


Researchers state that any kind of change in the skin of breast or nipple is the major and first sign of cancer so it must not be ignored at any cost. In this, there are following distinctive symptoms which can be detected easily.


Skin: At the first stage skin around the nipple becomes red, itchy and eczema-like rashy. After a time skin starts to become flaky and scaly.


Discharge: Person can find straw-like or blood-like fluid to discharge from the affected area.


Sensation: Many people feel burning sensation along with pain and tingling.


Nipple structure change: The nipple has chances of becoming inverted or folded inwards.


Breast: There are chances of finding a lump in the skin of breast which is considered as a tumor. Flaky skin and rashes that don’t heal ever.




What are the Causes of Paget’s Disease of Breast?


The core cause behind the occurrence of this disease is still unknown but there are two possible theories that are held responsible for it.


First is the breast cancer in which some cells migrate through the milk duct to the nipple. Another is the transformation of normal skin cells of breast turning into cancer cells. There are many risk factors as well.

  • Age (the risk increases with the age)
  • Denser breast tissue
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Previous history of breast cancer
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)


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How is the Paget’s Disease of Breast different from Eczema?


This is the confusion that has been encountered by many people. The early symptoms of Paget’s disease of breast and eczema are almost same which causes misunderstanding and lack of seriousness among patients. Due to this confusion, it becomes difficult for people to self-diagnose it.


The major difference between these two similar yet widely different diseases is that areola gets infected before the nipple in eczema, unlike Paget’s disease. The former is not a chronic condition whereas the latter does.




What is the Treatment for Paget’s Disease of Breast?


After a complete and proper diagnosis of the condition of the breast, the doctor analysis the stage of cancer and suggests the therapy accordingly.


On early stages, the doctor may perform surgery to draw out a tumor from the breast or can be treated by breast-conserving lumpectomy.


Whereas, in case of advanced malignancies may require a mastectomy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are other advanced techniques to erode away cancer for treatment.





Paget’s disease of the breast is a chronic condition that mostly affects women but men also stay in radar after the age of 40 years so one must keep checking up their body and breast especially for women and should hurry to doctor in case of any detection of the symptom. Also, always remember that preventions are way better than cure.


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