By Gary M. White, MD

Breast cancer on the skin

Breast cancer can occasionally affect the skin.


A solitary nodule or an indurated plaque of the breast is most common. A larger, peau d'orange appearance may be seen. Nipple or skin retraction may occur. With lymphangitic spread, a large erythematous plaque may develop--resembling erysipelas (fig), except for its prolonged and relatively static state.

Induration in the inframammary crease is one rare presentation of breast cancer.

In exceptional cases, a breast cancer may be pigmented.

Rarely, an annular erythema may represent breast cancer [Australas J Dermatol 2010:51:125-8]


A punch biopsy may establish the diagnosis if the disease lies superficial.


Treatment is carried out by the general surgeon.

Additional Pictures

Breast cancer causing retraction and inflammatory breast cancer.
Retraction of the skin caused by breast cancer Inflammatory breast Cancer of the skin

Breast Cancer in the inframammary area causing puckering of the skin.
Breast cancer in the inframammary area Breast cancer in the inframammary area

Very rarely, a man may get breast cancer. See male breast cancer. This firm slow growing plaque was on the lateral chest near the axilla. (A biopsy site is present medially)
Breast Cancer on the skin in a male

Metastatic breast cancer
Breast cancer metastaitic to the skin


Inflammatory Breast Carcinoma Presenting with Two Different Patterns of Cutaneous Metastases: Carcinoma Telangiectaticum and Carcinoma Erysipeloides J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Aug;8(8):47-51

A remarkable case of cutaneous metastatic breast carcinoma. Dermatology Online Journal 15(7)

Nipple retraction and tethering caused by raising arm. Online CME

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