Hello. Is this a part of the nipple (you state it is on the side, do you mean that it is actually on the areola?)? or is it beside the nipple in the skin/breast?
How long has this been there? When you say it 'keeps coming back' does that mean it resolves completely and then reoccurs?
Is it getting worse when it recurs or staying the same?
Thank you for the clarification. What you are describing is a blocked duct. Around the areola are sebaceous glands known as Montgomery's tubercle. When these become blocked or infected, the pimple-like cyst that you describe can occur. This will usually resolve on it's own- however, you describe this as a problem that has been consistant over eight years (quite a long time) and so I would advise physical evaluation and a swab/culture of the 'filling'. This can advise the doctor as to an appropriate antibiotic treatment prescription that can resolve this for you. Additionally, the flakiness that you describe is probably related and may indicate that this could be related to a type of yeast overgrowth in the area. Because of this, physical evaluation is definately necessary to prescribe appropriate treatment.
I hope this is helpful to you and you seek the evaluation that you need- please remember to press accept and feel free to contact me if you have anything to add.
No, I don't believe that this is related to either paget's disease or cancer. However, physical examination is necessary to completely rule the possibility of cancer out and diagnosis can't really be made based on a description of symptoms.
The reason I don't think it is Pagets/cancer is because with these, the symptoms usually start with the nipple and then move the areola. What you describe is only an areola involvement. The symptoms of of Pagets/cancer include an eczema-like rash, not just the flakeyness (like with yeast overgrowth, true eczema or dermatitis). The skin of the nipple and areola can appear red and inflamed. There may also be crusting, bleeding and ulceration, which is a bit more dramatic than what you describe. Some women have an itching or burning sensation. Fluid (discharge) may leak from the abnormal area of cells. The nipple may turn inwards (be inverted). Many times a breast lump will be palpable by the time these symptoms arise as well.
All of that being said, you should be preforming monthly self breast exams and a mammogram if over 40. I do suggest that although I don't suspect cancer, you should have this evaluated by your doctor for infection intervention and to be completely sure.