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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference


Breast Cancer and ‘Paget's Disease’



CancerBACUP - Living with Cancer

Male Breast Cancer

National Breast Cancer Centre

National Breast Cancer Foundation

    Queensland Chapter

The Cancer Council Australia


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Most women are not aware of ‘Paget's Disease of the Breast and Genitals', which relates to a type of skin cancer that can affect either the breast or the genitals, and can occur in both women and men. 

'Paget's Disease of the Bone' is a very different condition and is in no way related. The only connection with these two conditions is that the same doctor, Sir James Paget, who was Queen Victoria’s surgeon, discovered both the bone disease and the skin cancers. Unfortunately, although unrelated, both conditions carry his name, which does cause some confusion. 

Paget's Disease of the Breast and Genitals:

This is a rare form of breast cancer and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole. It appears initially as a rash that may itch, be uncomfortable or painful, but it will later became a lesion with a crusty outer edge and which would never be suspected as being breast cancer. The nipple will not seem any different, but the rash is the first physical sign.

The rash may started out as a single red pimple on the aureole, which makes one of the biggest problems with Paget's disease of the nipple being that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.

What are the symptoms?

  1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn

  2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal

  3. Usually only one nipple is affected

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical examination and should suggest a mammogram of both breasts being done immediately.

Although the redness, oozing and crusting might closely resemble dermatitis, (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer despite the fact that the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should also immediately order a biopsy of your sore to confirm the symptoms.

This message must be taken seriously and passed on to as many relatives, friends and colleagues as possible… it could save someone's life, perhaps your own or somebody close to you.

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870