What Is Intraductal Papilloma?
Breast tumors aren’t always indicative of cancer. There are also benign
breast conditions that can cause lumps. One of these conditions is intraductal
An intraductal papilloma is a small, benign tumor that forms in a
milk duct in the breast. These tumors are made of gland and fibrous tissue as
well as blood vessels. They are most common in women between ages 35 and 55.
There are no known risk factors for intraductal papilloma.
When a single tumor grows in large milk ducts, it’s called a
solitary intraductal papilloma. It’s typically felt as a small lump near the
nipple, and it may cause nipple discharge or bleeding. This type of lump isn’t
associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
Ducts farther away from the nipple are smaller, and papillomas in
this area typically manifest as clusters of little tumors. These tumors are
called multiple papillomas, and they have been associated with a slightly
higher risk of breast cancer. This is because multiple papillomas have been linked
to a precancerous breast condition called atypical hyperplasia.
A condition called papillomatosis is sometimes grouped in with
intraductal papillomas. It develops when there’s an abnormal overgrowth of
cells in the milk ducts. Papillomatosis is also associated with a higher risk
of breast cancer.
Are the Symptoms of Intraductal Papilloma?
An intraductal papilloma can cause breast enlargement, lumps, and
nipple discharge. Some people might also experience pain or discomfort in their
An intraductal papilloma typically presents as one larger lump
near the nipple or as multiple smaller lumps farther from the nipple. These
lumps are normally 1 to 2 centimeters wide, but they can also be larger. The
size of the lump depends on the size of the duct where it grows. Sometimes, you
won’t even be able to feel the lump.
The symptoms of intraductal papilloma are very similar to those
of other types of breast tumors. It’s important to see your doctor if you see
or feel a lump in your breast. Your doctor can address any concerns you may
have and examine the lump to help make a diagnosis.
How Is Intraductal Papilloma Diagnosed?
Your doctor may recommend a breast ultrasound
if they suspect you have an intraductal papilloma. This type of imaging test is
more effective in showing papillomas than a standard mammogram. However, a
mammogram will also be performed to check for any other types of abnormalities.
Additional tests may be performed as well:
- A breast biopsy can be performed to rule out
cancer. In a breast biopsy, your doctor will insert a thin needle into your
breast tissue and remove some cells. This type of biopsy is called a fine
needle aspiration. Your doctor may want to perform a surgical biopsy if you’ve
been experiencing nipple discharge. This will allow them to examine your breast
tissue more thoroughly.
- If you have nipple discharge, your doctor may
want to do a microscopic examination of breast discharge to look for cancer
- A ductogram can also help your doctor make a
diagnosis. A ductogram is a type of X-ray that helps determine the underlying cause
of nipple discharge. During a ductogram, contrast dye is injected into the breast
ducts so your doctor can view them in the X-rays more easily. Though this test
may be used in some cases, it has largely been replaced by ultrasound.
How Is Intraductal Papilloma Treated?
Standard treatment for this condition involves surgery to remove
the papilloma and the affected part of the milk duct. The surgery is typically
done under general anesthesia, which means that you’ll be asleep during the
procedure. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may or may not need
to stay in the hospital overnight. You’ll have a small wound from the incision,
usually near your nipple. While it may initially leave a scar, the scar will
fade over time.
The tissues removed during the surgery will be tested for the
presence of cancerous cells. Further treatment may be necessary if cancerous
cells are found.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook for People
with Intraductal Papilloma?
The outlook for people with intraductal papilloma is usually good
once the papilloma is surgically removed. If you have multiple papillomas and you’re
under age 35, you should speak with your doctor about the increased risk for
Ask your doctor for information about support groups or
counselors who can help you through the treatment process.
How Can I Prevent Intraductal Papilloma?
There’s no specific way to prevent intraductal papilloma. However,
you can increase the likelihood of early detection by seeing your doctor
regularly for breast exams, doing monthly breast self-exams,
and having regular screening mammograms. You should also call your doctor if you
have concerns about anything related to your breast health.