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Mammography Pain in Women Treated Conservatively for Breast Cancer

Journal of Pain
DOI: 10.1054/jpai.2000.7884
  • Mammography
  • Pain
  • Conservative Therapy
  • Breast Cancer
  • Radiation Oncology.
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Abstract: In this study, pain during mammography in women treated conservatively for breast cancer was examined. It studied pain intensity and its relation to a variety of demographic, medical, and pain coping variables as well as to objective measures of breast compression. Ninety-nine women, treated with lumpectomy (with or without radiation) and undergoing follow-up screening mammography, were asked about strategies they use to cope with everyday pain and then were asked to report pain experienced during the mammogram. Treated and untreated breasts were rated separately and compared with a sample of 125 control women with no history of breast cancer. Women reported significantly greater pain in the treated breast (41% greater than the untreated breast and 32% greater than the control group). There was no consistent relationship between mammography pain and pain coping. Average intensity of pain at last mammogram was the best predictor of pain in both breasts. Women treated conservatively for breast cancer experience significantly greater pain during mammography of their treated breast. Radiologists and technologists can identify women at risk for a painful mammogram by asking about the pain at last mammogram. By applying pain-reducing interventions, they might be able to make the mammography experience more tolerable for these women.

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