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March 7, 1966

Paget's Disease of the Breast: Simple Method of Cytological Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

From the Eden Hospital Laboratories, Castro Valley, Calif, and the Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1966;195(10):873-875. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100100125047

ECZEMATOID ERUPTIONS or superficial erosions of the mammary nipple sometimes lead women to seek medical care. Perhaps more often, such lesions come to a physician's attention as an incidental observation during consultation for a routine examination or for some condition unrelated to the breasts. It is well known that lesions of this type may be the only evidence of breast cancer, but there has been no simple method of investigating the possibility of malignancy in any given patient. The frequency with which Paget's carcinoma is missed by physicians is twice as high as for other carcinomas, "and the additional delay chargeable to physicians in those patients in whom they missed the diagnosis was about five months longer in Paget's carcinoma."1

The only satisfactory approach to the diagnosis has been biopsy with the patient under local or general anesthesia. Usually, the biopsy has been made only after a period of