Nipple Retraction as a Symptom of Breast Cancer

nipple retraction breast cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant disease that affects both men and women. However, it is estimated that 1 in every 8 women in the U.S. will suffer from breast cancer over a lifetime, making it the second most common type of cancer in this population. Men, conversely, have a 1 in 1,000 probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Any cancer occurs when there is an uncontrollable growth of cells.

Nipple retraction, which can also be called nipple inversion, invaginated nipple, or inverted nipple, is the name given when the point of the breast turns inward or become inverted. The condition can be the result of inflammation or scarring of the tissue behind the nipple, and caused by numerous conditions, not just cancer. But breast cancer can have many other symptoms, including a new breast lump or mass, swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, a nipple discharge other than breast milk, and redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, as well as nipple retraction.

In the case of breast cancer, nipple retraction occurs when the tumor attacks the duct behind the nipple, pulling it in. It should be reported to a physician, particularly when accompanied by other symptoms. However, the physician cannot diagnose breast cancer just by observing a nipple. When a patient shows nipple retraction, physicians often ask about the patient’s medical history, perform a full physical examination, and request exams like imaging X-rays, a mammogram, a breast ultrasound, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast, or a biopsy.


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