March 06, 2008

Paget's disease-new kind of Breast Cancer

In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing.

Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worst, so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass.

A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she was given a clean bill of health.

She had 1 year of living each day to its fullest. Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatment and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effect of Chemo. She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days. After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message to be delivered to women everwhere:

Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent in getting help as soon possible.

Paget's Disease : This is a rare form of breat cancer and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and areola. It appeared as a rash which later become a lesion with a crusty outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that. Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn't bother me. It was just ugly and nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis for my eyes just prior to this outbreak. They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous.

Now, I suspect not many women out there know a lesion or rash on the nipple or aureole area can be breast cancer. It started out as a single red pimple on the areola. One of the biggest problem with Paget's disease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delay in detection and care.

What are the symptoms?
  1. A persistent redness, oozing and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn (some did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing but did have a crust along the outer edge of one side)

  2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal.

  3. Usually only one nipple are effected. How is it diagnosed?? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breast, done immediately. Even though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resembles dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on.

More info on this Paget's disease in the BreastCareCenter


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