22 February 2022

Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, Senior Research Communications Manager Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Every year 55,000 UK women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast pain is very common in women of all ages but as this study confirms, pain on its own is very unlikely to be breast cancer.

“At Breast Cancer Now we receive lots of calls to our Helpline from women who have breast pain and are worried this could be a sign they have breast cancer, and we also hear from women with breast cancer who have experienced pain as one of their symptoms. It’s important that hard-working GPs are supported to understand breast cancer symptoms and risk so they can best support patients in their care – whether by referring them on for further tests, or allaying their concerns and helping them to understand why they might be experiencing pain.

“We recently estimated that 8,870* women are living with undiagnosed breast cancer due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s therefore more important than ever that women get any potential symptoms of breast cancer checked by a GP as soon as possible. Most breast changes won’t be breast cancer, but early diagnosis increases the chances of successful treatment, which could prevent people from dying.

“Anyone looking for support and information about breast cancer can speak to Breast Cancer Now’s expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”

- ENDS –

*The number of people starting their first treatment for breast cancer under the 31 day wait from decision to treat between March 2020 and December 2021 (compared to data from the same months in 2019/20) in England. Calculated using Monthly Provider Based Data and Summaries, Cancer Waiting Times, NHS England.