My Nipple Has Little Bumps, And It Itches. Is This Breast Cancer?

Question

Asked by Jodie

My Nipple Has Little Bumps, And It Itches. Is This Breast Cancer?

Is it common to have small bumps on your nipples? I have these little bumps, and they're itchy. Could this be a sign of breast cancer?

Answer

Small bumps on the nipple are normal. They're called Montgomery glands, and their job is to secrete an oily lubricant that keeps your nipples soft and supple. If one or some of the bumps are painful, and seem enlarged, they could be blocked. Just as you get pimples on your face from blocked oil glands, you can get them on your nipples, too. Don't squeeze them; warm compresses can help open them up again.

I suspect the itchiness you feel isn't related to the bumps. Nipple itchiness can be the result of a number of factors - anything from changing your laundry detergent or shower gel, to a bra that doesn't fit quite right, to spending a bit too much time in a chlorinated pool. Nipples are a sensitive part of your anatomy, and easily irritated. This irritation sometimes results in itchiness.

There's a rare form of breast cancer called Paget's disease; its symptoms include irritated nipples. If the itching has been going on for awhile (several weeks) without relief and without change (e.g., more itching at certain times of the month), then it's probably time to see a doctor. S/he can rule out any serious nipple issues, and might recommend you see a dermatologist for tests to determine just what's causing the itchiness, and what might be done about it.

Answered by PJ Hamel