Research on breast pain 'reassuring' for patients, says RCGP

Responding to a recent BJGP study: ‘No association between breast pain and breast cancer’: Dr Gary Howsam, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The results of this study should reassure patients suffering solely with breast pain, that it is unlikely to be a sign of cancer.

“It remains essential that if patients are concerned, or have any potential symptoms of breast cancer, that they contact their GP practice to get them checked out. Symptoms can include a new lump, a change in size or shape of the breast, breast discharge and swelling and a lump or swelling in either of the armpits, which can all be experienced with and without breast pain.

“Medical research, such as this, is vital to improving the timeliness and accuracy of cancer diagnosis. As such, it’s important that this research is considered when clinical guidelines are developed or updated, so that GPs are confident they are making decisions about whether a referral is required, based on the latest evidence. Overall, GPs are doing a good job at identifying cancers and referring appropriately with around 75% of cancers being diagnosed after just one or two GP consultations – what would help further is better access to diagnostics in the community, and the appropriate staff and training to use them.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7548
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Read the article on the BJGP website

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.