Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Are dark spots around the nipple abnormal?"
Is it normal for a woman to have dark spots around a nipple? I'm a young woman and I haven't really run across this in any of my friends... But I don't want to run off to the doctor every time I notice something new. Could this be a breast cancer risk, or no?
There are many causes of darkening of the skin both on the breast and elsewhere. The physicians who would be best qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor, your dermatologist, or your OB/ GYN doctor. First, dark spots on the skin of the breast are rarely a sign of breast cancer. Breast cancer more commonly manifest as lumps that are felt deep within the breast tissue. The most common cause of dark spots on the skin, include the skin around the nipples, are freckles or moles (nevi). Nevi are simply collections of pigment containing cells that are grouped together is small collections under the skin. They are a normal finding in most people. Rarely, nevi can turn into malignant melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. Dark spots that are larger in sized, have irregular borders, are growing rapidly, or have multiple spots of different colors within them have a higher chance of being dangerous and should be promptly checked out by a physician. As always, the diagnosis and treatment of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor, your dermatologist, or your OB / GYN doctor is strongly recommended.
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