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What is ductal papilloma?

Can you please tell me about ductal papilloma?

Ductal papilloma is a benign breast condition. That means it is not cancer. A papilloma is a growth a bit like a wart. These can grow inside the ducts of the breast, often near to the nipple. Sometimes they can bleed or seep fluid, causing a watery or bloody discharge from the nipple.

Usually ductal papillomas are between 1 and 2cm in size. Sometimes they can be double that – about 4cm. Often there is only one papilloma which can be easily removed. Sometimes there are many of them. In these cases, the whole area containing the papillomas can be removed.

Papilloma is not a cancer and is very unlikely to develop into a cancer. But the cells of the papilloma should be examined under the microscope after it has been removed. This is because ductal papilloma can be associated with another condition called atypical hyperplasia which means an abnormal growth of cells. There is a risk that the atypical hyperplasia could develop into a breast cancer over time if it is not treated. If there are any atypical cells in the papilloma when the biopsy is examined, they will usually be seen under the microscope.

Multiple papillomas are more likely to be associated with atypical hyperplasia, but this is not always the case. You will need to talk to your doctor about your biopsy result to make sure.

We have further information about the possible risks and causes of breast cancer.

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Updated: 5 August 2014