Clinicians need more education in the types of breast pain that necessitate an imaging workup and what imaging to order, according to a study presented at the recent ARRS 2019 Meeting, A previous survey found agreement among breast imaging radiologists’ imaging decisions in accordance with the literature and practice guidelines. The study was conducted to determine what if any difference exists between referring clinicians’ and radiologists’ approach to the imaging evaluation of breast pain as a sole presenting symptom.
One hundred and eleven clinicians participated in an online survey of 11 questions regarding preferred imaging evaluation of various types of breast pain based on patient age, pain location, and whether pain was constant or intermittent. Findings include 72% of respondents believe a weak correlation between breast pain and breast cancer exists, while 23% believe there is a neutral correlation. However, despite most clinicians asserting they believe in only a weak correlation between breast pain and breast cancer, many still order imaging studies, resulting in wasted healthcare resources. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they order imaging for breast pain to exclude malignancy, 26% for reassurance only, and 25% to evaluate the breast tissue for a cause of pain.
While the results demonstrate an understanding across specialties of the importance of imaging and breast pain, they also suggest more education for clinicians is needed in the types of breast pain that necessitate an imaging workup and what imaging to order.