Breast Cancer Prevention - Medicine & Surgery Options

Some women who learn from their physician or a genetic counselor that they are considered high-risk for the development of breast cancer choose to take medications such as Tamoxifen in attempt to decrease their risk.

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) has been shown to decrease the extent to which estrogen stimulates the growth of breast cells. Studies have reported that Tamoxifen has decreased the risk of breast cancer in some women and has been successful in reducing the chance of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed in the past with breast cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Tamoxifen as a form of preventative cancer treatment.

Women with a very high risk of developing breast cancer may choose to undergo surgery in an attempt to eliminate as much of the risk as possible. It is an option of these women to have their breasts removed before cancer can develop. Removal of the breasts as a preventative measure is called prophylactic removal, and this has been shown to decrease the risk for high-risk women by 90%. These women may have a strong family history of breast cancer or have been informed through genetic counseling that they carry the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene. The decision to undergo this surgery is a very personal one, and a woman who chooses this route must be prepared to work through the emotional issues that will go along with the removal of her breasts and the surgery itself.

At BreastHealthOnline, we recommend that all women complete a monthly breast exam, have a physician conduct a yearly breast exam, and get a mammogram every year beginning at the age of 40 in order to detect changes that may occur in the breast.

  • Friday, 15 June 2012