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Breast and Nipple Discharge: What It Could Mean

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What is the connection between nipple discharge and breast cancer?

Most nipple discharge is either normal or caused by a benign medical condition. There are instances, though, when discharge from the breast may be a symptom of some forms of breast cancer. This likelihood is greater if your nipple discharge is accompanied by a lump or mass within the breast or if you have had an abnormal mammogram.

One form of breast cancer that may cause breast discharge is intraductal carcinoma. This cancer develops within the ducts of the breast located beneath the nipple.

Another rare form of breast cancer that may result in nipple discharge is Paget's disease. This condition develops in the ducts of the breast and then moves to the nipple. It may cause the nipple and the surrounding areola to bleed or ooze. Paget's disease usually occurs with another form of breast cancer.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on September 22, 2014
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