Scholarly Sunday: Prevention of Breast Cancer

Only 4% of women who could benefit from medication to prevent breast cancer are taking this medication. It is time to think about whether you are one of those women. There are many strategies to reduce breast cancer risk, and for women who are high risk there is a way to use medication to lower your breast cancer risk. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has changed the tenor of its recommendations in its clinical practice guideline on the use of 'chemoprevention' or taking medication, to prevent breast cancer, and they now are including the medications of raloxifene, and exemestane in the medications not just tamoxifen, and the organization is wanting more people to seriously consider these medication. Their point is that they are not seeing more people use these very effective therapies, and so awareness is not increasing, and more women and their gynos need to take note. Here is what you need to know
  • Breast cancers,  that is due to cancers that have estrogen receptors, rate can be reduced by half by medicine use
  • Every woman should know whether they are at increased risk by getting Gail Model Score or National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, a modified version of the well-established Gail model
  • You can be evaluated for these medications as young as age 35
  • The medications used are not all the same, and have some risks, which includes the risks of blood clots, and benefits beyond breast cancer prevention, which may include osteoporosis prevention in the case of raloxifene
  • Mammogram findings do not directly impact the decision to take these medications, but Halo breast pap tests can influence decision
  • For more information go to ASCO’s  Web site. Their 2013 updated breast cancer guidelines can be found here.
 It is the best step to first figure out your risk, in a new study presented by Dr. Jonathan Herman at a presscast in advance of the 2013 Breast Cancer Symposium, which will be held in San Francisco. The presscast was organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), he noted less than 1/10 women accurately know their breast cancer risk.

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