Is A Long-term Itchy Bump In The Nipple Area A Sign Of Breast Cancer?

Question

Asked by cejakaja

Is A Long-term Itchy Bump In The Nipple Area A Sign Of Breast Cancer?

I've had a smooth, small, round bump that's been itching terribly for 5 to 6 weeks. Now it's gotten a little scabby, and it still itches constantly. Is this a symptom of breast cancer?

Answer

Most breast itching isn't cancer. In fact, itchy breasts are one of the most frequent complaints women have about their breasts, and usually the problem is related to dry skin, a chafing bra, or some other minor irritation. Please read our post on nipple issues for more on itching that's specifically around the nipple.

Paget's Disease of the Breast  is one type of rare breast cancer that's characterized by itching and a scaly, eczema-like rash around the nipple.  Of course, most of the time a rash that looks like eczema is eczema, not cancer; so please don't panic. But I do think it's time to let a doctor take a look. We recommend checking with a doctor for any breast change that lasts longer than a menstrual cycle.  Most problems related to hormones will go away over the course of a month, or come and go in a pattern, such as pain the week before a woman's period starts.

Another rare form of breast cancer characterized by skin changes is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). The signs here are usually a combination of redness, swelling, and skin dimpling. The swelling causes pain and itching deep in the breast.  A bump on the surface of your skin would not be likely to be related to IBC.

If you don't have quick access to a doctor, you could try a cream for itchy skin on your nipple to see if that helps. However, it would be best if you make an appointment because you've had this issue for longer than a month, and because itching is so uncomfortable.

Answered by Phyllis Johnson