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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19453
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I have a mild pain in left breast, should I get a mammogra

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I have a mild pain in left breast, should I get a mammogram
It will help if you could provide some further information:
How long have you been having this pain?
Is it tender to press on the area?
Can you feel any lumps in the area of the pain?
When was your last mammogram?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One week

It is not tender to press

There are no lumps

My last mammogram was three years ago

I also have a mild pain in my back on the same side

The pain is not severe

Thank you for the additional information.

There are a couple of issues to consider in this situation.

First, there are many different possible causes of pain in the breast and some are more worrisome than others. One of the common conditions that is less worrisome is from inflammation, either in the breast but more often musculoskeletal inflammation deep to the breast. Since the pain has only been present for a week, it would be reasonable to first try an over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. If the pain persists, then it would be appropriate to be seen for further evaluation as to the cause of the pain.

Regarding a mammogram, this is an area of controversy. In this country, the current recommendations would be to perform a mammogram, regardless of the findings on exam. However, the recommendation for mammography varies somewhat from one country to another and one professional body to another. Some recommendations recommend continuing mammography for as long as the woman is generally healthy. Some countries only continue mammography routinely until age 75, age 70 or age 65. After that age, mammography may still be done to evaluate symptoms or findings on exam, but if the pain resolves with an anti-inflammatory medicine and there are no findings on exam, your doctor may not order a mammogram.

When there is this level of difference in recommendations, that is proof that the clinical evidence is not clear, and the final recommendations are partly based on the opinion of the doctors on the committee that promulgated the recommendation.

If you were my patient, I would order a mammogram, even if the pain is relieved and there is a normal exam, but your doctor may follow a different recommendation.

I realize that this is not a clear answer, but the current clinical evidence can be interpreted to support any of the above recommendations.

If you have any further questions or need clarification, please let me know.

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