• Concerned Concerned
    March 25, 2010
    I recently had a blocked gland on my right nipple. What would cause this? I'm worried about cancer.
    Concerned Concerned
    March 25, 2010

    My nipple had a blocked Montgomery gland for about a week, and then it burst.  Now my nipple looks normal again. My doctor examined my breasts 3 weeks ago (before the blocked gland), and everything was fine. What would cause this? And are there tests aside from mammogram and ultrasound for this sort of thing? I've heard of mistakes in diagnosis being made.

     

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    March 25, 2010
    Phyllis Johnson
    Health Guide
    March 25, 2010

    Montgomery glands are the small, oil-producing glands on the areola that keep your nipple soft and supple. Sometimes they become blocked and produce a pimple – much like you'd get a pimple on your nose or forehead. Once this pimple bursts and the pus is drained, there's usually not a problem – unless the open area becomes infected. It sounds to me like this has resolved itself for you without a problem.

    I don't think this problem needs a doctor's attention unless it happens again in the same spot, which might point to some underlying infection. If you haven't done so already, some antiseptic to keep the area clean would be a good idea. If it doesn't heal quickly, check with the doctor.

    Ultrasound and mammogram, along with MRI, are diagnostic tests used to spot breast cancer, chiefly through the identification of suspicious masses and lumps that can then be biopsied, if necessary. And nearly all breast cancers begin with a suspicious mass. Paget's disease of the breast can begin with nipple itchiness and scaliness – but not with a blocked gland. A blocked gland is just that: a gland that became obstructed with excess oil, created a small infection, and then cleared up. It's not a sign of any underlying issue (unless, as noted above, it happens repeatedly). So please don't continue to worry about this; it's not a typical breast cancer symptom.

     

    • Concerned
      March 29, 2010
      Concerned
      March 29, 2010

      Thank you for your reply.

      If you don't mind my asking, what is your role?

      Are you a breast specialist or lactation nurse?

       

      I like to check my resources, as there is so much free information & advice out there, it's hard to know what to believe & who to trust sometimes.

       

      Kind regards.

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      March 29, 2010
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      March 29, 2010

      Dear Concerned, checking out sources is always a good idea.  You can read about the background of any of the people who post at HealthCentral by clicking on the person's name.  You will notice that some of the people who post are designated as "patient experts."  That means that we are breast cancer survivors who have gained expertise by educating ourselves on breast cancer issues.  In my case, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 1998, and have been a volunteer and list monitor at www.ibcsupport.org for years.  Answering questions that come into that website is an important part of my role with that list.  HealthCentral asked me to be an expert patient based on my work with the ibcsupport group.

      I was pretty sure I knew the answer to your question based on my previous reading, but I always like to double check, so I used Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, 4th edition, to be sure that I was giving you the best possible answer.  I highly recommend that book as an excellent overall resource about healthy breast development as well as breast problems, including breast cancer.

       

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    • PJ Hamel
      March 30, 2010
      PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      March 30, 2010

      Hi - I join Phyllis as one of the two expert patients answering quesitons on this site. As she says, we're not medically trained; but we're breast cancer survivors who've read extensively on the subject, can read and interpret fairly complicated medical journal articles, and do the best we can from a layperson's level of knowledge. We will never knowingly mislead anyone, nor "push" any particular program or treatment; bottom line, we're here to help in any way we can. So to the extent that we're NOT medically trained, and I wouldn't want anyone to rely on our advice for life-and-death decisions – you can trust us. PJH

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    • Concerned
      March 30, 2010
      Concerned
      March 30, 2010

      Thanks very much, Phyllis.

      I feel more relieved now than before.

       

      Keep up the good (& very helpful) work.

       

      kind regards.

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    • Phyllis Johnson
      March 31, 2010
      Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      March 31, 2010

      Glad to help.  My doctors have always reassured me that come-and-go symptoms are not cancer, so I'm pretty sure that this is not a problem to worry about since it cleared up.  However, if you have the problem again, check with the doctor in case there is some kind of underlying infection causing repeated inflammation.

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