By Dr. Kathleen Ruddy

When you find a lump or tumor in your breast, it can be very alarming. Some tumors could actually turn out to be cancerous, such as ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. Some other types of milk duct tumors are considered benign, or noncancerous; intraductal papillomas are in this category. Intraductal papillomas are benign tumors that grow within the breast ducts. They cause wart-like growths within the gland tissue. Here are some tips to help you to know what to do if you’re diagnosed with an intraductal papilloma.

Where are Intraductal Papillomas Located?

Intraductal papillomas grow within your breasts’ milk ducts. These small growths will typically feel like a small lump near your nipple. You may also experience some discharge from the nipple if an intraductal papilloma is present.

When Should You Schedule a Doctor Appointment?

If you notice a lump near your nipple and it’s associated with some minor discharge, then it would be a good idea to keep an eye on it. If you find that the fluid amount increases or the lump gets larger, you should schedule an appointment to have a breast exam and potentially have the fluid tested. Your doctor may also want to have the lump imaged using a ductogram.


If you feel a lump near your nipple and then notice a bloody discharge, it could be an intraductal papilloma that has burst.

What are Different Types of Intraductal Papillomas?

There are two main types of intraductal papillomas: solitary papillomas and solitary intraductal papillomas. Solitary papillomas are typically just one lump located near the nipple. Solitary intraductal papillomas are located inside the ducts.

Do Intraductal Papillomas Increase Your Risk of Cancer?

Intraductal papillomas on their own do not increase your chances of getting breast cancer. If they are associated with other conditions, such as atypical hyperplasia, you could be at higher risk for breast cancer. The best thing to do is to check with your doctor and have the intraductal papillomas checked out.

What is the Treatment for Intraductal Papillomas?

Intraductal papillomas may need to be surgically removed if they become painful or cause bleeding from the nipple. In order to remove the intraductal papilloma, a small incision is┬ámade along the edge of the areola. Afterward, the papilloma and its duct will be removed. You may have some minor scarring from the procedure, but it shouldn’t be very easy to detect once it’s completely healed.

Since the benign condition of intraductal papillomas is fairly common among women between the ages of 20 and 40, they’re not a huge cause for concern. Watch the lump including the amount and color of the fluid that may come from your nipple. If the lump becomes painful or uncomfortable, the intraductal papilloma could have burst or become infected, and you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. It’s important to understand that this condition is not cancerous but still warrants a visit to the physician.

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