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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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December 2003

Q. I had a baby nine months ago and I am now 14 weeks pregnant. Lately my nipple has had a bloody discharge. I went to my OB/GYN and was told it was probably a papilloma and referred me to a breast doctor. My appointment isn't for another month and I'm researching what a papilloma is on the internet.

The first thing that came up was the Human Papilloma Virus. In reading the article I understand it to be an HIV thing. Then I read the article on breast papilloma, and it talked about a growth in the milk duct. Are those two things the same kind of papilloma? Is my breast papilloma the same as a Human Papilloma Virus?

A. The term papilloma is confusing in your situation. A papilloma occurring in the breast is a growth of benign tissue, often occurring in the milk ducts near the nipple. This can cause a bloody discharge. It will be important to try to determine the cause and significance of the discharge. Often a sample of the discharge is taken and sent to the lab to examine the type of cells that are present. If a lump is felt, a biopsy can be taken to diagnose the type of tissue, and look for cancerous cells.

There is also a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes warts. The warts themselves are benign but in some situations are considered precancerous, an example being HPV infection causing abnormalities on the Pap smear test in women. This is not related to breast papilloma.



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