Breast cancer is a very uncommon cause of breast pain. Please do not refer patients where breast pain is the only symptom until conservative measures have been tried. Women under 40 with breast pain as the only finding are unlikely to be referred for any further imaging. All referrals will be seen within 2 weeks.
Patients with additional breast symptoms (e.g. lump, discharge, unilateral eczema, recently acquired nipple distortion or retraction) or a moderate or high risk family historyshould be referred in accordance with breast lump guidance.
Causes of breast pain include: Mastalgia (likely to be linked to hormones), chest wall pain, and occasionally Infection.
Breast cancer is a very uncommon cause of breast pain.
No treatment may be appropriate if the symptoms are mild.
Conservative management of mastalgia includes: reassurance (pain often settles in 3-6 months), supportive bra, and topical ibuprofen PRN.
Other measures include oral pain relief, reducing caffeine (not evidence based), reviewing hormonal medication, reducing animal fat in diet, evening primrose oil (≥360mg per day OTC, for a 6 week trial). This web page for patients provides more details on these measures:
Date Reviewed 03/12/2019
Next Review Date 03/12/2020
Author Dr I Boyd, RMS GP Sifter
Contributor Dr Rebecca Osborne, GPwSI Breast, RCHT
Version No. 3.0