Summary: Cancer Detection and Prevention 26 (2002) 192196
Mastalgia and breast cancer: a protective association?
Seema A. Khan, MDa,, A. Vania Apkarian, PhDb
a Department of Surgery, Northwestern Medical School, Tarry 11-703, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
b Department of Physiology, Northwestern Medical School, Tarry 11-703, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Received 7 February 2002; received in revised form 29 March 2002; accepted 2 May 2002
Breast pain (mastalgia) is a common complaint, with a potentially important relationship to breast cancer risk. We have examined the
association between mastalgia and breast cancer in the patient population of the Breast Care Center of University Hospital, Syracuse, New
York. Of 5463 women with complete breast cancer risk factor information, 1532 (28%) reported breast pain as an incidental complaint
at their initial visit, and 861 were diagnosed with breast cancer. Forward stepwise logistic regression was used to analyze the association
between breast pain and a diagnosis of breast cancer. The age-adjusted OR for breast cancer was 0.60 (95% CI 0.500.74). Adjustment for
additional risk factors (early menarche, late first birth, late menopause, exogenous hormone use, positive family history) yielded an OR of
0.63, 95% CI 0.490.79. Thus, women who experienced breast pain in our patient population were less likely to be diagnosed with breast
cancer than women who did not complain of breast pain, regardless of age, and of other breast cancer risk factors. Further investigation of
this possible protective association is warranted.
© 2002 International Society for Preventive Oncology. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Mastalgia; Breast cancer; Protective association
Mastalgia (breast pain) is a common complaint, which