Mastalgia and breast cancer: A protective association?

Seema A. Khan*, A. Vania Apkarian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


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 0.50-0.74). 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 0.49-0.79. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-196
Number of pages5
JournalCancer detection and prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Breast cancer
  • Mastalgia
  • Protective association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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