I Have A Painless But Itchy Rough Patch Around My Nipple. Should I Worry?

Question

Asked by Angel

I Have A Painless But Itchy Rough Patch Around My Nipple. Should I Worry?

For the past 6 months I've had a dry, rough patch on my left nipple. Unless I put moisturizer on it, it becomes flaky and uncomfortably itchy. There's no redness or discharge. I'm 18 years old.

Answer

Although incredibly unlikely, this could be a form of cancer called  Paget's disease, which has a scaly rash on the nipple as its main symptom.  But please don't panic, because it's very unlikely that Paget's would get better with moisturizer.

This is much more likely due to a skin condition of some kind: eczema, dermatitis, a reaction to the particular shower gel or laundry detergent you use, or even the result of too much swimming in a chlorinated pool. Nipples are very sensitive, and can react to small changes in their environment. For more on this, please read our post on nipple issues, including itchiness.

At age 18, your risk of breast cancer is so low that statisticians don't even track it. Please read our message to teens about breast cancer for information that should help allay any cancer anxiety you might be feeling.

Only a doctor can diagnose exactly what's going on with your nipple, and recommend the best treatment. Since this has been an issue for quite some time now, letting a doctor take a look is a good idea.