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I suspect I have an intraductal papilloma - what can I expect?

SteffiW Member Posts: 2
edited February 2022 in Benign Breast Conditions

I am 31 years old and have been having bloody discharge from one nipple for about two and a half weeks. I went to urgent care about it after the first couple days. The blood comes in small drops when I gently squeeze my nipple, sometimes looking like straight blood and sometimes mixed with clear fluid. I am scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound, but the appointment is nearly three weeks away and it is unlikely that I'll be able to snag an earlier appointment. (Infection and pregnancy have been ruled out, and I have no associated pain or lumps.)

My research has indicated that the most likely cause of the bleeding is an intraductal papilloma. (Any input on this is welcome.)

My questions are:

1) If it stops bleeding on its own, especially if it does so before my imaging, will that affect what the likely diagnosis is? I haven't been able to find information about whether intraductal papillomas stop bleeding.

2) What happens if nothing is visible on the imaging? I'm scared of not getting any kind of answer. I have NF1 which increases my risk of breast cancer and so my geneticist has made me do aggressive screening imaging including mammogram/ultrasound last year and an MRI early this year, so I know nothing was visible even recently but my past imaging has shown dense tissue which will make it harder to find anything.

3) If it does show under ultrasound/mammogram what happens? Will they biopsy it right away? How likely are they to recommend surgical removal?

Any advice and input is much appreciated.


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,289

    Hi SteffiW, and glad you found us here, and hope we can be of support.

    Of help may be to look at any of these pages/section if you haven't already, as a starting point:

    Benign breast conditions

    Advanced Breast Cancer Screening Methods Classify Fewer Women as Having Dense Breasts

    Supplemental MRI Screening May Benefit Women With Extremely Dense Breasts

    Peripheral Intraductal Papillomas

    We're all here for you.

    Warmly, The Mods

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946

    Well, first you see a qualified medical professional (with years of education and experience) to get a diagnosis instead of using Google. Maybe you got lucky and you're right. But Dr. Google is generally a quack and full of bad information.

  • sadwife
    sadwife Member Posts: 4

    A lot of speculation here based on my journey. But if it helps, here you go...

    I had discharge too but it was not bloody. I read somewhere that bloody discharge slightly increases the chance of the lesion being malignant but don't let this drive you crazy. None of this is set in stone. Got a diagnostic mammo followed by an ultrasound (immediately). And when they read the ultrasound, they recommended a biopsy which was scheduled a week or so from that day. It took a few days for those results to come back. And it was papilloma. The surgeon recommended removal even if it was completely benign. Apparently, that is the protocol for papillomas as they have a small chance of turning malignant.

    Take care and take the advice everyone here is giving you (This forum was the most helpful thing for me when I was going through this!) - Take things by the day. You CANNOT speed anything up as things will take their own time. You will get through this.

  • SteffiW
    SteffiW Member Posts: 2

    Thank you for your response to my thread. I'm actually at the end of a whirlwind journey on this. I finally got my imaging about three weeks after I went to my doctor when the bloody discharge started, and there was nothing visible on the mammogram and the ultrasound only found a spot which was biopsied and came back as fibrocystic breast changes. By then the discharge was mostly gone, certainly no more blood and only perhaps infinitesimally tiny amounts of clear discharge when squeezed. I still got referred to surgery, and the surgeon said she believed I had an intraductal papilloma even though nothing like that was visible on the ultrasound. So I had surgery a little over two weeks ago (three months after this all started) to remove all the milk ducts from that side, and pathology reported back that there were two intraductal papillomas, one 3mm and one 4mm.

    So good news in the end after a lot of drama. I'm going to be closely screened for breast cancer going forward (I already was getting annual MRIs due to a genetic disorder called NF1 that increases my risk of breast cancer, and it's looking like moving forward I'll have a rotation every six months alternating mammos and the MRI) but for now I'm healthy. <3

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,203

    Good news Steff - thank you for coming back to let us know.