Paget's Disease of the Breast: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Paget's disease of the breast is a type of cancer. Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the breast. In Paget's disease of the breast, some women notice a change in how the breast looks, especially the nipple. Other women do not notice anything different about their breasts.

Your doctor will do a breast examination and a mammogram. You will need other tests if a lump or cancer is found outside the nipple area.

In most cases, there is some cancer in the breast outside of the nipple area. This is treated like other breast cancers. Breast cancer treatment may be removal of the cancer from the breast followed by radiation to the breast. Another treatment for breast cancer, depending on the size and location of the cancer and your preferences about treatment, is removal of the whole breast (mastectomy).

If the cancer cells are only close to the nipple, treatment may be surgery that removes the nipple but leaves much of the breast, possibly followed by radiation.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Eat healthy food. If you do not feel like eating, try to eat food that has protein and extra calories to keep up your strength and prevent weight loss. Drink liquid meal replacements for extra calories and protein. Try to eat your main meal early.
  • Get some physical activity every day, but do not get too tired. Keep doing the hobbies you enjoy as your energy allows.
  • Take steps to control your stress and workload. Learn relaxation techniques.
    • Share your feelings. Stress and tension affect our emotions. By expressing your feelings to others, you may be able to understand and cope with them.
    • Consider joining a support group. Talking about a problem with your spouse, a good friend, or other people with similar problems is a good way to reduce tension and stress.
    • Express yourself through art. Try writing, crafts, dance, or art to relieve stress. Some dance, writing, or art groups may be available just for people who have cancer.
    • Be kind to your body and mind. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking time to do things you enjoy can contribute to an overall feeling of balance in your life and can help reduce stress.
    • Get help if you need it. Discuss your concerns with your doctor, counsellor, or other health professional.
  • If you are vomiting or have diarrhea:
    • Drink plenty of fluids (enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water) to prevent dehydration. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
    • When you are able to eat, try clear soups, mild foods, and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12 to 48 hours. Other good choices include dry toast, crackers, cooked cereal, and gelatin dessert, such as Jell-O.
  • If you have not already done so, prepare an advance care plan. An advance care plan provides instructions to your doctor and family members about what kind of care you want if you become unable to speak or express yourself.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your pain is not controlled by medicine.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You are constipated or have diarrhea.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

Enter S915 in the search box to learn more about "Paget's Disease of the Breast: Care Instructions."