Not Found

Find information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, news and more, written in everyday language.

Paget Disease of the Nipple

(Paget's Disease of the Nipple; Paget Disease of the Breast)

By Gregory L. Wells, MD, Staff Dermatologist, Ada West Dermatology, St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, and St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center

Paget disease of the nipple is a rare type of skin cancer that originates in milk ducts under the nipple and first appears on the skin.

The term Paget disease also refers to an unrelated metabolic bone disease (see Paget Disease of Bone). These distinct diseases should not be confused with each other.

This Paget disease occurs mainly on the nipple and results from a cancer of the breast milk ducts that has spread to the skin of the nipple. Both men and women are affected. The underlying cancer may or may not be felt by the person or the doctor.

Sometimes Paget disease of the nipple develops in areas other than the breast (called extramammary Paget disease). It can develop in the groin or genital area or around the anus as the result of a cancer originating in underlying sweat glands or even in nearby structures such as the bladder, anus, and rectum.


The skin in Paget disease of the nipple appears red, oozing, and crusting. It looks like an inflamed reddened patch of skin (dermatitis) as may result from many other possible causes. Itching and pain are common.


  • Biopsy

Because Paget disease looks very much like common dermatitis, a biopsy is necessary to make the diagnosis. During this procedure, a small piece of skin is removed and examined under a microscope.

As with other cancers, once the diagnosis is confirmed, doctors do an examination and tests to see whether the cancer has spread.


  • Removal of tumors

  • For extramammary Paget disease, surgery or laser therapy

Paget disease of the nipple is usually managed like other types of breast cancer. Tumors are surgically removed.

Paget disease outside the breast area is treated by removing the entire growth with surgery or laser therapy.

More Information