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Breast Cancer

Male nipple itching

05/25/1997

Question:

I am a male, age 69. Since about 2-3 months my nipples itch. It happens daily, primarly evenings. The symptoms are irrating to the point where I would like scratch them. I have not noticed any physical changes.

Answer:

Chronic itching can be a symptom of eczema of the nipples which is a nonspecific inflammatory response to internal or external agents (such as the soap used to launder your clothes). Itching is often an allergic reaction and responds to removal of the irritant and to topical application of hydrocortisone. The important point to make is that you need to see your primary physician to determine the cause of the itching. It is important that you are checked for a form of breast cancer called Paget's disease of the nipple. The skin changes around the nipple can vary from moist, scaley to dry skin. The nipple can display redness or simply subtle thickening . Often, no change is evident. To avoid any mistakes, any questionable dermatitis of the nipples needs to be biopsied for diagnosis.

Only 2%of all breast cancers develop in men. Most of these cases are presented as a firm lump in the breast. However, Paget's disease does occur in men.

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Response by:

Janet   Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD Janet Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati