Paget’s disease of the nipple (nipple cancer) is an uncommon type of cancer that starts in the milk ducts of the nipple, and may spread rapidly along these ducts, deep into the breast. The cause is unknown, but it is uncommon, occurring in only one in every one hundred breast cancers.
There are often very few symptoms until the cancer is well advanced, and no lump is felt. Symptoms include itching and irritation of the nipple, a thickening of the nipple and in advanced cases an ulcer may form. The cancer may spread to breast tissue and nearby lymph nodes. The diagnosed is confirmed by biopsy of the nipple.
Surgery to remove the nipple and the affected part of the breast is performed, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy when necessary. The more advanced the cancer when first treated, the poorer the survival rate.