Itchy breasts are a common complaint of a lot of women, says Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti, a well-known breast cancer doctor in Kolkata. It is frequently a symptom of a benign skin illness such as contact dermatitis or eczema. Still, it can also indicate a more dangerous condition such as inflammatory breast cancer or Paget’s disease of the breast.

While itching is not necessarily related to breast cancer, it may indicate two forms of cancer: one deadly form of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and the other, Paget’s disease involving just the nipple and areola complex. Let’s have a look at the symptoms of these conditions and what to look out for.

What Should You Be Aware Of?

Breast Cancer With Inflammation

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and severe cancer involving the breast surface’s lymphatic channels. Inflammatory breast cancer, as the name implies, causes the breasts to appear red, enlarged, and swollen. Furthermore, the thickening of the skin gives it the appearance of an orange peel. Peau d’orange refers to this orange peel-like look, says the breast cancer surgeon in Kolkata.

Itching on the breast along with some reddening skin can be the initial symptom of IBC. A breast surgeon should be consulted if dermatological treatment does not ease persistent irritation in the breasts. If any of the following symptoms accompany itching in the breasts, a visit to a breast cancer specialist is required:

• Breast discoloration 

• Breast enlargement

• Breast thickening that is unrelated to weight gain

• Armpit swelling caused by lymph node metastases

Inflammatory breast cancer is a very aggressive kind of breast cancer, and early detection can make a significant impact on its treatment.

Paget’s Disease

It is a rare kind of cancer that affects the nipple and areola. It is also known as Paget’s disease of the breast. The first indications of this malignancy are a red, scaly rash on the skin that resembles eczema. It has a waxing and waning pattern, and the scaliness of the skin may totally disappear. A crust may build on the nipple repeatedly, causing bleeding from the nipple’s surface when removed, says the expert of breast cancer surgery in Kolkata.

Paget’s disease can manifest as-

• Nipple and areola itchiness

• Nipple discharge is yellow

• Nipple bruising and bleeding

• Nipple that is inverted

• A thick, red, crusty lesion that resembles eczema

• Feeling of tingling around the breast or areolaIf itching and crust development arise on the breast, it is critical to diagnose it. This might be Stage 0 cancer. If the nipple-areola complex is neglected, the problem may spread to the breast tissue, resulting in the formation of a lump. This would advance the illness, and treatment would be more difficult than if the disease was limited to the nipple and areola complex, says Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti, the breast cancer doctor in Kolkata.