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    Duct Ectasia

    Where to Seek Treatment

    Contributed by:
    SingHealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre


    In duct ectasia, there is a swelling of the milk ducts beneath the nipple and thickening of the walls of the milk ducts. The ducts are filled with fluid. It occurs mainly in perimenopausal women aged 40 to 50 years.


    It is speculated that this may be caused by changes due to ageing, smoking and nipple inversion.


    Symptoms include:

    • Dirty white, greenish or blackish nipple discharge
    • Tenderness and redness in the nipple and surrounding breast tissue
    • Thickening near the clogged duct
    • Inverted nipple
    • Breast discomfort


    Diagnosis is based on clinical breast examination with ultrasound of the nipple and areola, and mammograms.


    Treatment is largely symptomatic but antibiotics and analgesics may be needed. Supportive management includes:

    • Warm compresses to soothe the painful breast
    • Breast pads to absorb the nipple discharge
    • A good support bra to help minimise breast discomfort
    • Sleeping on the opposite side to help prevent swelling and discomfort to the affected breast
    • Stopping smoking
    • Surgery, which may be considered to excise the affected duct

    Cancer Risk
    Duct ectasia does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

    Where to Seek Treatment

    Specialist services available at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre located at:

    National Cancer Centre Singapore Tel: 6436 8088
    Singapore General Hospital Tel: 6321 4377
    Changi General Hospital Tel: 6850 3333
    Sengkang General Hospital Tel : 6930 6000
    KK Women's and Children's Hospital Tel: 6294 4050

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