Breast pain is one of the most common breast complaints. Nearly 70% of women have experienced breast pain at some point in their life. Fortunately, the majority of breast pain is not related to breast cancer. Breast pain may occur in one or both breasts and can involve the nipple and radiate to the armpit. Because there is often no easy remedy, breast pain can be very unsettling for patients. Breast pain is very real, however, and afflicts countless women.
Breast pain that is more localized, which presents with an enlarging mass, associated skin changes, or occurs in women after menopause generally warrants a complete evaluation. A complete evaluation includes a clinical breast exam with imaging studies such as mammography and ultrasound. If nothing is seen on a mammogram or ultrasound, an MRI may be needed. Breast pain in the absence of findings on clinical exam or diagnostic imaging is often associated with benign causes.