Does mammography hurt?

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Rama SapirNathan I Cherny


The documented incidence of pain associated with screening mammography varies from 1% to 62%. Some researchers suggest that pain may undermine compliance with screening mammography. As a part of a quality improvement project, we have surveyed women undergoing mammography in 2 centers in Jerusalem to identify the prevalence, severity, and duration of mammography-associated pain, demographic risk factors, and the degree that this may undermine compliance with breast cancer screening. A 23-item questionnaire was administered to 399 women (32% at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center [SZMC] and 68% at the Rachel Nash Comprehensive Breast Clinic [HALA]). Of the total, 77% of the women reported that the procedure was painful. Of those reporting pain, 60% described pain intensity as moderate or severe. In 67%, the pain resolved within 10 minutes. By univariate analysis, the only significant predictor for pain during mammography was cyclic breast pain (P = 0.053). No significant correlation was identified for age, breast size, pre-mammography counseling, and examination center (SZMC vs. HALA). The prevalence of pre-mammography counseling or explanation was low (51%). Despite that, 61% of the respondents expected that mammography would be pai...Continue Reading


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