How worried should I be? Small patch of dry, itchy skin on breast.UPDATE! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay. Early in the week I noticed a small patch of dry, itchy skin (skin is slightly cracked and pinkish) under the nipple of my left breast. I didn't think anything of it, applied aloe and went on my way.

There was no pain, redness, swelling or heat.

Days later, it's still there.

Today I made an appointment to see the doctor next Wednesday - but now of course I am worried.

Any insight?

For the record, I haven't breastfed for couple years now. I am 45.

Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 01:42 AM
 
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Hi, Burritomama:

I had a similar problem years ago. I had intense itchy on a small spot on my areola. The skin was flaky and reddened. After about a year of this, I went to my OB/Gyn. She was concerned it was Paget's Disease of the Breast, which is strongly associated with an underlying cancer. Paget's has to be considered when a woman has persistant, localized area of scaly, red, itchy skin on her nipple. I ended up with a mammogram and biopsy, all of which was normal.

In your situation, I would be less worried. The problem has not been going on for very long (versus a year for me). Most Paget's involve the nipple and areola (yours sounds like it farther away than that). Paget's frequently looks like an unhealed wound: oozey, crusty, etc. This doesn't sound like what you are experiencing. It may be that you have a localized area of atopic dermitits, which is what I had, or some other completely beign problem. Also keep in mind that Paget's is extremely rare (it represents 1% or less of all breast CAs) and usually doesn't affect women under 50.

It seems unlikely to be Pagets. Here's some info and links, so you can decide for yourself:

From BreakThoughBreastCancer: Types of Primary Breast Cancer

...Paget's disease is a rare form of breast cancer affecting the nipple. Overall it accounts for about 1% of female breast cancer. It is characterised by a red scaly rash on the nipple itself, which may spread to the areola (the darker area around the nipple). In 90% of cases where this eczema-like rash is seen, it indicates an underlying cancer in the breast ducts.

The skin of the nipple may appear crusted, scaly, red, itchy, bloody or ulcerated and a burning sensation may be felt. A lump may also be detected in about half of all cases. If there is no lump, the prognosis for this type of cancer is better.

This type of cancer can be confused with skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, making it difficult to diagnose. However the key characteristic here is that the rash usually affects the nipple first and does not go away.


...

From the National Cancer Institute: Paget’s Disease of the Nipple: Questions and Answers

...Symptoms of early Paget’s disease of the nipple include redness and mild scaling and flaking of the nipple skin (1). Early symptoms may cause only mild irritation and may not be enough to prompt a visit to the doctor (3). Improvement in the skin can occur spontaneously, but this should not be taken as a sign that the disease has disappeared. More advanced disease may show more serious destruction of the skin (1). At this stage, the symptoms may include tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain. There may also be discharge from the nipple, and the nipple can appear flattened against the breast (1, 2).

In approximately half of patients with Paget’s disease of the nipple, a lump or mass in the breast can be felt during physical examination (1). In most cases, Paget’s disease of the nipple is initially confined to the nipple, later spreading to the areola or other regions of the breast (1, 2). The areola is the circular area of darker skin that surrounds the nipple. Paget’s disease of the nipple can also be found only on the areola, where it may resemble eczema, a noncancerous itchy red rash (1). Although rare, Paget’s disease of the nipple can occur in both breasts (2)....


...

From MayoClinic.Com: Paget's disease of the breast

...Paget's disease of the breast affects your nipple and its surrounding skin (areola). It's easy to mistake the signs and symptoms for skin irritation (dermatitis) or another noncancerous (benign) skin condition of the nipple. In the early stages of the disease, you might notice only some flaky or scaly skin on your nipple, accompanied by slight itching or redness. These skin changes can come and go, making it appear as if your skin is healing on its own. On average, a woman may experience signs and symptoms for six to eight months before a diagnosis of Paget's disease of the breast is made....

Another kind of breast cancer that affects the skin's appearance and can be itchy is inflammatory breast CA. But with that the skin is red and hot and the breast is swollen, which are things you are not describing. So that seems very unlikely.

I hope all turns out to be fine.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 02:13 AM
 
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I have the exact same thing (the description you gave is just like what I have). Mine grew on my left brest about 15 years ago. I have talked to several doctors about it (when I get a new GYN I always bring it up) but they all say it is quite common and very normal. Some women have it removed for cosmetic reasons, but you really can't see it that well--you can just feel this little rough spot.

I would advise you to have it checked by a doctor, just to be on the safe side. Hope that helps
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#4 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gosh, thanks for all the info - and for sharing your own experiences.

That's what I like so much about this place.

It helps so much...I do tend to worry.
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#5 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Just wanted to add..I had the same thing last summer and was very worried..doctor too thought maybe Paget's but because of my age (26) thought it was very unlikely..gave me a prescription and it cleared right up..had it not she would have done a biopsy...oh..I had a mamogram and ultrasound too and it turned out fine. Try not to worry..I'm sure you'll be fine.

Karen
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#6 of 14 Old 03-24-2007, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am certainly feeling less isolated now - thanks!

I keep thinking back to my mammogram last year - but I know they don't catch everything...

No matter what - you gals are educating me (per usual) - and calming me down a bit too - thanks!
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#7 of 14 Old 04-14-2007, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay - here's my udpate:

I went to see the doc who thought the dry skin was just a dermatological event and prescribed some creme - which cleared it right up.

BUT we discovered my last mamo was two years ago and not one - time flies! - so I made an appointment to get another and got it yesterday. The doctor who presided over that became concerned about my right breast (the left waa the one with the rash) and during the course of the afternoon, order more and different mamo scans plus an intensive sonogram - all of which confirm a kind of a tissue present in the right breast that isn't present in the left. (I think I said that right.)

She's concerned ("Breast cancer can be sneaky," she said.) but will wait on retrieving my mammo results from two years ago before proceeding. thats hould happen Monday.

It could be nothing - it could be something.

That's it for now.
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#8 of 14 Old 04-24-2007, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burritomama View Post
okay - here's my udpate:

I went to see the doc who thought the dry skin was just a dermatological event and prescribed some creme - which cleared it right up.

BUT we discovered my last mamo was two years ago and not one - time flies! - so I made an appointment to get another and got it yesterday. The doctor who presided over that became concerned about my right breast (the left waa the one with the rash) and during the course of the afternoon, order more and different mamo scans plus an intensive sonogram - all of which confirm a kind of a tissue present in the right breast that isn't present in the left. (I think I said that right.)

She's concerned ("Breast cancer can be sneaky," she said.) but will wait on retrieving my mammo results from two years ago before proceeding. thats hould happen Monday.

It could be nothing - it could be something.

That's it for now.
do you know what kind of cream you got? i am hoping to find it over the counter, maybe. what's happening with the other breast's tests?
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#9 of 14 Old 04-24-2007, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't remember the cream - by I had a prescription.

the patch is all gone now - but I am proceeding with other tests to see what's up. A bit scary.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-24-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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Thanks for the update; I've been wondering how you are doing.

I hope you get good news about the continuing tests. I'm sure it is scary! But I'm glad to hear the dry, itchy patch is gone. Hopefully, the rest of the tests will turn out fine.

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#11 of 14 Old 04-24-2007, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank YOU.

yes, the patch is gone - and, in some ways, I guess I feel fortunate that I followed up on it so quickly considering that it led to the discovery of this - whatever it is.

I see another doctor tomorrow who has all the scans and my history -and we'll see what he says.
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#12 of 14 Old 06-18-2007, 11:13 PM
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I just happened upon this thread. Has anyone heard the results from Burritomama's scans? I see that she hasn't posted since this one. Hopefully its just been a busy couple of months.

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#13 of 14 Old 06-19-2007, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You're so kind.

ah yes, busy couple months - lots of tests and the discovery that I am anonmolous (sp?) but - thank goodness, benign. Whew.

this good news after so much worry came along with bad news about a friend - hence my failure to udpate -- but thanks all around for the advice and good thoughts - it all helps so much ~~~
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#14 of 14 Old 06-19-2007, 09:35 AM
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Oh good for you.
So sorry about your friend.
Life is a big fat mystery.

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