Intraductal papilloma is a small, noncancerous (benign) tumor that grows in a milk duct of the breast.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Intraductal papilloma occurs most often in women ages 35 - 55. The causes and risk factors are unknown.
Signs and tests
Intraductal papilloma is the most common cause of spontaneous nipple discharge from a single duct.
The health care professional might feel a small lump beneath the nipple, but this lump cannot always be felt (palpable). A mammogram often does not show papillomas. Ultrasound may be helpful.
Other tests include:
- A breast biopsy to rule out cancer
- An examination of the discharge to see if the cells are cancerous (malignant)
- An x-ray with contrast dye injected into the affected duct (ductogram)
The involved duct is surgically removed and the cells are checked for cancer (biopsy).
There may be support groups for women with breast disease in your area. Ask your doctor or other health care provider for a recommendation.
The outcome is excellent for people with one tumor. People with many tumors, or who get them at an early age may have an increased risk of developing cancer, particularly if they have a family history of cancer or there are abnormal cells in the biopsy.
Complications of surgery can include bleeding, infection, and anesthesia risks. If the biopsy shows cancer, you may need further surgery.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you notice any breast discharge or a breast lump.
There is no known way to prevent intraductal papilloma. Breast self-examination and screening mammograms can help detect the disease early.
Daniel N. Sacks, MD, FACOG. Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by Verimed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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