FROM OUR EXPERTS
Q. I have this scaly rash right around my nipple. That couldn’t be a sign of cancer, could it? A. Yes, it could. Or it could be a plain old rash. But any time your nipple changes, it’s worth a call to the doctor. Changes might include the following; • A nipple that’s suddenly inverted (pulled in, rather than sticking out); • A change in the shape of your nipple; • A spontaneous discharge (i.e., you don’t have to squeeze your breast for it to appear), other than milk. Special signs to watch for include the discharge coming from only one breast; if it’s tinged with blood; or if it’s clear and sticky. In addition, a rare form of breast cancer, Paget’s disease, starts with a red, scaly, itchy rash, over and around the nipple and areola. It may scab over; it looks a lot like eczema, and is often misdiagnosed. Have it checked; your doctor may decide it’s eczema, and treat it with a rub-on cream. If that works, ...
After an abnormality of the breast is found, tests are performed to see if the problem is cancer. One or all of these tests might be done:
Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Two pictures are taken of the breast after it is compressed between two glass plates. One image is shot from the top and the second picture is taken from the side. A radiologist will look at the pictures and determine if anything looks abnormal. He or she may then decide to get other pictures of a certain area. These are called spot or magnification views.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. Ultrasound complements other tests. If an abnormality is seen on mammography or felt by physical exam, ultrasound is the best way to find out if the abnormality is solid (such as a benign fibroadenoma or a cancer) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst). Ultrasound cannot determine whether a solid lump is cancer...
For fibrocystic changes, birth control pills are often helpful. Other women are helped by:
Avoiding caffeine and chocolate
Limiting fat and increasing fiber in the diet
Taking vitamin E, vitamin B complex, or evening primrose oil supplements
Call your health care provider if
Call your doctor if:
The skin on your breast appears dimpled or wrinkled (like the peel of an orange)
You find a new breast lump during your monthly self-exam
You have bruising on your breast, but did not experience any injury
You have nipple discharge, especially if it is bloody or pinkish (blood-tinged)
Your nipple is inverted (turned inward) but normally is not inverted
Also call if:
You are a woman, age 20 or older, and want guidance on how to perform a breast self-examination
You are a woman over age 40 and have not had a mammogram in the past year
What to expect at your...
You should know
Answers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Content posted by community members does not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media, which also reserves the right to remove material deemed inappropriate.