This paper presents an evolutionary artificial neural network (EANN) approach based on the pareto-differential evolution (PDE) algorithm augmented with local search for the prediction of breast cancer. The approach is named memetic pareto artificial neural network (MPANN). Axtificial neural networks (ANNs) could be used to improve the work of medical practitioners in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Their abilities to approximate nonlinear functions and capture complex relationships in the data are instrumental abilities which could support the medical domain. We compare our resuits against an evolutionary programming approach and standard backpropagation (BP), and we show experimentally that MPANN has better generalization and much lower computational cost. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.