Are Inverted Nipples a Sign of Cancer?

shutterstock-resizedContrary to what many people may think, the occurrence of inverted nipples is actually quite common, affecting approximately 10-20% of all women. In the vast majority of women, their existence is due to congenital factors – abnormally short milk ducts and ligaments in the breasts that act as a tether, preventing the nipples from projecting normally. Usually this condition manifests itself during puberty. Other benign causes include pregnancy, breast feeding, scar tissue formation and trauma.

Inverted nipples can also be caused by breast cancer though this is not very common and the history is generally different from those caused by benign factors. Typically, there would be the development of nipple retraction just on one side leading to inversion over a period of a few weeks to several months. In such situations as well as a few others, a thorough breast examination and evaluation by a qualified doctor is mandatory in order to diagnose or rule out this breast cancer possibility.

If your inverted nipples are congenital in nature or related to benign causes, then you can pursue correction of this deformity by a skilled, board certified plastic surgeon. Inverted nipple treatment is straightforward and predictable and can be performed in an office under local anesthesia with minimal pain or downtime. The results are quite rewarding – both physically and psychologically.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, MD, PC