Breast cancer risk in symptomatic women spontaneously undergoing clinical breast examination

Franco Lumachi, Mario Ermani, S. M M Basso, Sara Lonardi, Alicia Tosoni, Alba A. Brandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer among women. However, few studies consider the possible relationship between the main breast complaints referred to by non-screened patients and cancer onset. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the principal breast complaints (breast pain, breast lump and nipple discharge) and the risk of BC. A group of 347 symptomatic women (median age 59 years, range 35-83) with confirmed BC (cases) was age-matched with a population-based group of 351 symptomatic women (controls) who were followed-up for at least three years (median 78 months, range 36-146) to exclude the presence of a missed BC. Breast pain was the most common (p60 years (65.4%). Since the odds ratio (OR) ranged from 0.80 to 1.20 at a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.54-1.80, there was no overall significant association between breast complaints and risk of BC. There was some evidence of increased risk among patients with breast lump (OR=1.20, 95% CI 0.80-1.80), and no risk in those with breast pain (OR=0.86, 95% CI 0.54-1.36) and nipple discharge (OR=0.8, 95% CI 0.37-1.74). In conclusion, a relationship between breast complaints and the onset of BC does not seem to exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3565-3568
Number of pages4
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Prevention and controls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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