Here’s one more reason to do regular self-breast exams: It’s a way to find lumps called breast duct papillomas that may not be visible on your mammogram.
Most commonly found in women ages 35 to 55, a breast duct papilloma is generally a noncancerous, solitary tumor most often found in the milk ducts near the nipple. Breast duct papillomas may produce a small lump that you can feel next to or behind the nipple, and may not be detected on a mammogram.
A single breast duct papilloma does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. But if you have multiple papillomas or develop a breast duct papilloma that contains certain cellular changes, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Symptoms of a breast duct papilloma include:
- Deformed or misshapen breast
- Breast lump
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge (may be clear or bloody) or tenderness
Treating breast duct papilloma
Typically, doctors will remove the papilloma and biopsy the tissue to be certain that there aren’t any atypical cells. If cancer cells are present, your provider will recommend additional treatment.
We don’t know the causes or risk factors for breast duct papillomas, but to reduce your risk, be sure to schedule regular checkups and mammograms recommended by your healthcare provider. Finally, always seek immediate care if you notice nipple discharge from either of your breasts or if you notice a breast lump.