Study Finds Non-Lump and Non-Breast Symptoms Occur in 1 in 6 Women With Breast Cancer

Monday, November 14, 2016

Researchers in the United Kingdom reviewed data from a national UK database to identify presenting symptoms of breast cancer in 2316 women and determine the interval of time that elapsed between initial presentation and a diagnosis of breast cancer. Symptoms were grouped by topography, and subsequently, associations between the 4 most frequent symptom groups and the length of time to diagnosis were examined.

Although a breast lump was the most common symptom (83%) of 56 symptoms identified, non-lump symptoms included nipple abnormalities (7%) and breast pain (6%). Non–breast related symptoms included back pain (1%) and weight loss (0.3%). Women in the “lump only” symptom group had a median patient interval of 7 days to diagnosis. Women in the “non-lump only” or “both lump and non-lump” symptom groups had 1.5 times and 2 times longer patient intervals to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The researchers concluded that 1 in 6 women with breast cancer in the UK presented with symptoms other than a breast lump, and that a longer time interval to diagnosis occurred when women had less common presenting symptoms. The study abstract is available here

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Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Blog Info
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN is an oncology nursing consultant and editor-in-chief of Oncology Nursing News.
Author Bio
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, is the Editor-in-Chief for OncLive Nursing. She is an oncology nursing consultant and adjunct assistant professor of nursing at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. She provides continuing nursing education to nurses across the Unites States, is active in several professional nursing organizations, and is intrigued by the many ways nurses use technology to communicate.
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