Hello World, and welcome once more to your amazing platform as we usher you to one of the types of breast cancer, the Paget’s Disease of the Breast. In this article, we shall have a brief history of this disorder, its causes and risk factors, signs, and symptoms, and most importantly how victims can prevent this type of breast carcinoma.
Haven discovered the Paget’s Disease of the Bone, Sir James Paget, an English Surgeon in 1874 came forth with the Paget Disease of the Breast (PDB). It is, however, important to note that the two diseases are not medically related.
PDB also called Paget’s Disease of the Nipple or Mammary Paget Disease (MPD) is an unusual form of breast cancer that involves the skin of the nipple and the areola, the darkish area surrounding the nipple. PDB usually affects only one breast and rarely occurs in men. According to News Medical Life, Mammary Paget’s Disease occurs in less than 5% of diagnosed breast cancer patients and often affects ladies above 50.
Physicians are not fully aware of the actual cause of the PDB. However, two theories are attributed to the cause of this disorder:
- The first theory and widely acceptable postulate suggests that PDB springs from underlying ductal breast cancer. Unique cancer cells called Paget cells escape from an original underlying tumor within the breast, then travel through the milk (lactiferous) duct to the nipples and the areola. This spreading or extension of cells of different regions into the epidermis from the metastatic spread of different malignancies to the skin, for this case the nipple, is medically known as epidermotropism-documented by Muir. These Paget cells are identified by their pale and abundant cytoplasm and prominent nucleoli, unlike the normal cells that look smaller.
- Another postulate affirms that Paget’s Disease of the Nipple sometimes develops independently in the nipple. Here, the Paget cells originate in the outer skin layer of the nipple and the malignant changes arise spontaneously without signal.
Risk factors look similar to those of ladies prone to breast cancer. These include Inherited genes, menstrual cycle, family history, Age, dense breast tissue, radiation, race, benign breast implication, alcohol, obesity, etc. Kindly visit the causes of breast cancer to get more information on these risk factors.
Signs and Symptoms.
Signs and symptoms are usually confusing to those of some non-cancerous (benign) skin disorders in the likes of skin irritation (dermatitis) or eczema.
Possible symptoms include:
- Itching (Pruritus)
- Redness (erythematous) or lesions on the nipple and areola.
- Flaking, scaly or thickening skin on or around the nipple.
- Tingling, slight prickling, stinging or burning sensation,
- A lump or lumps in the breast.
- Flattened or inverted nipple.
- Some affected ladies may also have bloody or yellowish discharge from their nipples.
PDB may affect one breast (unilateral) or both breasts (bilateral) in rare cases. Early symptoms of MPD usually portray a benign or non-cancerous skin condition, and the fact that this disorder is rare, it is mistakenly taken by many for an inflammatory skin infection. Females with Mammary Paget’s disease often have a delay of diagnosis for up to six months or more. Nonetheless, affected women seek medical attention as they experience itching, burning sensation, soreness, or pain in the affected area.
A lady can prevent PDB by lowering her risk of developing breast cancer. This is usually achieved as she makes necessary changes in her daily lifestyles. The female may do the following:
Limit Alcohol Consumption.
Ladies consuming alcohol should cease from doing so or do it in moderation with a lot of caution. They are recommended not to exceed one drink per day.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight.
Women who are cautious of their weight by avoiding obesity will likely not be prone to PDB and other types of breast carcinoma. This is particularly true as non-obese ladies have fewer fats which produce little estrogen and insulin thus lowering the woman’s chances of harboring PDB.
Seek Knowledge About Breast Screening from Your Physician.
It is recommended to have a talk with your Health Care Provider (HCP) on when you wish to begin with your breast cancer screening exams and tests. Two main exams here include Mammograms (where X-rays are taken to create an image of the inside of your breasts), and Clinical breast exams.
The woman may also ask her physician on the benefits and risks of the screening. As a result, she and her Health Care Provider may decide on the best breast cancer screening strategies to implement. Generally, breast screening tries to pick up breast cancer before it forms a lump.
Self-Examining your Breasts.
Ladies who once in a while examine their breasts during self-exam for breast awareness, tend to be more familiar with their breasts.
Practice Healthy Diet.
Women who rely on plant-based foods like fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and vegetables, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil are likely to have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Women can prevent PDB and other types of breast cancer by practicing regular exercise on most days of the week. They are requested to exercise at least 30 minutes in a minimum of 4-5 days per week. Inactive women can consult their Health Care Providers before exercising.
Many researchers report that breastfeeding ladies are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who do not.
Limit Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy.
Women who take a very low dose of hormone therapy for the shortest period usually reduce their risk of developing breast carcinoma.
This is also known as chemo-prevention. Medicines called Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (Evista) are known as estrogen-blocking medications. Ladies who take these drugs reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. Moreover, aromatase inhibitors are also showing some promising effects of lowering the risk of cancer of the breast in ladies with high risk. These drugs can be used by ladies who have reached menopause. Still, these drugs are not recommended for females with a history of blood clots and cancer of the womb, or if they have an increased risk of developing these disorders or conditions in the nearby future.
Women who have had their breasts removed (mastectomy) are not advised to take these drugs since their risk of having breast cancer is quite very small and these drugs are meant for females with high risks of having breast cancer. The National Health Science (NHS) reports Raloxifene and Tamoxifen being capable of causing side-effects. Raloxifene causes flu-like symptoms, leg cramps, and hot flushes. Tamoxifen causes hot flushes and sweat, changes to your periods, nausea, vomiting, and increase the risk of developing blood clots. Consuming such products will be strictly under the supervision of your Health Care Provider (HCP).
Ladies subjected to high risk of breast cancer can be advised to undergo prophylactic mastectomy (surgical removal of healthy breasts) or prophylactic oophorectomy (removal of healthy ovaries) to lower risks of both breast and ovarian cancer.
Paget’s Disease of the Breast affects mainly women and rarely occurs in men. PDB usually attacks middle-aged women, most often between 50-60 years of age. However, some cases have been reported with ladies of 20 years of age. PDB is known to represent less than 5% of all breast cancer cases.
Haven looked at some of the ways we can thwart the occurrence of Mammary Paget’s Disease, it is our utmost pleasure to emphasize that if ladies, in collaboration with their experts strictly follow the preventive measures outlined above, they shall shed little or no tears as far as PDB is concerned. Notwithstanding, Your Healthy Life seeks your contributions, opinion, and medical suggestions concerning this topic as you shy not on our comment box below.
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Mbam Leonard
Dr. Emmanuel Sako Haddison.