This cancer is a sub type of DCIS which is ductal carcinoma in situ. Thus the primary site for this cancer is milk ducts of your breast. it takes its name from the shape of cancer cells. These cancer cells have a finger like papillary( projection) with clear and well defined boundaries. It is a rare diagnosis with an incidence rate of only 1 – 2 % of all invasive breast cancers. It is commonly diagnosed in older women and very rarely in men. On the grading scale it is usually a grade 2 cancer i.e. at a moderate grade. It is also known as Intraductal papillary carcinoma and solid papillary carcinoma. You should not confuse this cancer with a non malignant condition called intraductal papilloma, this growth is seen inside the milk duct due to which there is nipple discharge. Though having one or more of these intraductal papilloma puts you on a higher risk of having breast cancer.
Just like any other carcinoma, there may be no obvious symptoms initially in papillary carcinoma in most of the patients. You may also be not able to feel a lump during a physical breast examination. But yes in an imaging test this dense lump mass will show. Over time a few of these cancerous cells may assume a growth big enough to be felt physically and may also make the breast tender to touch.
The first step always is to do a physical examination to feel any apparent lumps or masses in the breast tissue. Pot this imaging tests can be done like mammogram, MRI and ultrasound. The tissue would be seen near or surrounding the areola or sometimes just behind the areola in an imaging test. To confirm the diagnosis a tissue biopsy is undertaken. A biopsy gives accurate diagnosis as the cancer cells are removed from the breast using a needle and seen under a microscope. This pathological examination can be done a per the requirement with a core needle biopsy or even an open surgical biopsy. If the cancer is seen to be spreading and metastatis is concern, then the doctor may also decide on a sentinel node biopsy.