Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I have a family history of breast cancer and am 38 years old. I had a workup for an abnormality found on mammogram and was seen by a surgeon. They have concluded that the area is a papilloma and recommend removal. Is this a precursor to cancer, and is it necessary to have it removed?
Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
A papilloma is a benign (meaning non-cancerous) entity that probably would never become a cancer. However, it should be removed regardless, even if it is a benign papilloma, because it can cause bloody nipple discharge that can be quite annoying and bothersome.