Paget’s disease of the breast accompanies breast cancer in 90 percent of patients, but on its own represents only one to two percent of all breast cancers.
Symptoms of Paget’s can include a rash and scaling skin around the nipple and areola. The skin may appear inflamed, or even crusty or ulcerated. Discharge may leak from the affected area, and the nipple may turn inwards. Lumps in the breast may or may not be noticeable.
Treatment for this condition is usually surgery, but this depends on the advancement of the underlying breast cancer. Factors such as stage, grade, and whether the cancer is hormone-receptor-positive and/or HER2-positive will determine if the surgery performed should be conservative or a total mastectomy. HER2 receptors are proteins that stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. If the cancer is estrogen-receptor positive, meaning it is stimulated by the estrogen hormone, hormonal therapy might be prescribed to reduce the estrogen circulating in the body or to prevent it from reaching the cancer cells, thereby limiting the cancer’s ability to grow.