Risk factors and Symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast
The exact cause of the disease is unknown but certain women are at a higher
Age: women above 50 years of age are at a high risk of suffering from breast cancer, which can be a cause for predisposition to Paget's disease.
Family history: women with several close relatives with breast cancer at a young age are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer but it is not necessary for them to choose a radical surgery to remove their breast as a preventive measure. Because it is proved that some of them would not have got breast cancer even if the breast (or breasts) were not removed.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Long-term use of HRT for more than 10 years increases the risk of breast cancer. A combined HRT (estrogen plus progestin) increases the risk of breast cancer more than taking Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT).
Obesity: Overweight was also found to be linked with the development of breast cancer among older women.
Genetic alterations: Changes in certain genes like BRCA1, BRCA2, and others increase the risk of breast cancer among women.
Late childbearing: Women who have their first
Alcohol: Some studies show that there is a slightly higher risk of breast cancer among women who drink alcohol.
Radiotherapy: Women whose breasts were exposed to radiation at a younger age especially for the treatment of Hodgkin's disease are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Most women who develop breast cancer have none of the risk factors listed above, other than the risk that comes with growing older.
Symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast
Early symptoms of Paget's disease include itching, pain and burning sensation. These prompt the patients to seek medical advice.
The common symptoms are:
- Scaly, erythematous, crusty, and thickened plaques on the nipple and areola are seen.
- Serosanguinous discharge from the nipple may be present.
- Inversion of the nipple.
- Bloody discharges from the nipple.
- Redness, ulcerations
- In approximately 30-40 % of cases of Paget's disease of the breast, there is also a detectable lump in the breast. Lesion size ranges from 3 mm to 15 cm in diameter; the mean size is 2.8 cm in diameter.
Usually only one nipple is affected although rare cases of involvement of both nipples has been seen. Several noncancerous conditions can also mimic the symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast.