Health Questions and Answers

Question: What can women do to reduce their risk of breast cancer?

Answer:

Recent studies have shown that for women at high risk for breast cancer due to a previous personal history of breast cancer, first-degree family members with breast cancer, and other factors, the use of tamoxifen can reduce the occurrence of new breast cancers by about half. Some women who are known to carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations choose to undergo prophylactic simple mastectomies, which reduce the incidence of breast cancer by about 90%.

Reference: Vogel VG: Breast cancer prevention: A review of current evidence. CA Cancer J Clin 50:156-170, 2000.

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