Large prospective cohort study shows no association between breast pain alone and breast cancer

BJGP Interviews

22-02-2022 • 13 mins

In this episode we talk to Mr Ashu Gandhi who is a consultant surgeon from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester and an honorary senior lecturer at the Manchester Breast Centre at the University of Manchester. Paper: No association between breast pain and breast cancer: A prospective cohort study of 10,830 symptomatic women presenting to a breast cancer diagnostic clinic https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2021.0475 (https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2021.0475) zWomen with breast pain are often anxious that this symptom may represent an underlying breast malignancy and are consequently referred to secondary care to exclude this diagnosis. This study shows that the incidence of breast cancer in women with breast pain alone (no associated symptoms such as breast lumps or nipple discharge) is 0.4%, a figure similar to that seen in asymptomatic women invited for breast screening. Economic analysis confirms that referral of women with breast pain alone to secondary care diagnostic clinics is associated with increased cost but no additional health benefits. Women with breast pain should be reassured that they are at no greater risk of breast cancer than asymptomatic women.