Breast pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'life-threatening' to 'generally fatal'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose breast pain, we could:
Are you currently experiencing breast tenderness, soreness or swelling that is not associated with your menstrual cycle? If it is related to your cycle, answer the question that comes later.
Possible responses:→ Don't know / it is related to my cycle
→ Yes, slight, for under 1 month
→ Yes, severe, for under 1 month
→ Yes, for over 1 month
Many women with breast pain worry that it might be breast cancer. This is very unlikely. Breast pain is very common – about 70% of women have it at some time. Doctors at the Edinburgh Breast Unit have looked at the medical records of more than 8,500 women who attended the Unit simply because of breast pain. They found that less than 3% of these women – whose breast pain was probably quite severe – had breast cancer. Breast cancer is extremely unlikely if your only symptom is pain that varies with the menstrual cycle, or if both breasts are affected.