There are no known ways to prevent breast cancer[pic]. However, for women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer and even for those who have just an average risk, there are tangible ways to reduce the risk of the disease advancing to an incurable stage, including:
• Having a clinical breast exam[pic] every three years (for women who are under the age of 40)
• Getting a mammogram every one to two years after age 40 (or possibly sooner or more often if at higher risk for developing breast cancer)
The following life styles may contribute to a decreased risk of disease development:
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Maintaining a healthy weight[pic]
• Consulting a physician regarding alternatives to taking estrogen or other hormones
• Incorporating physical activity into daily life
• Eating foods high in fiber and low in fat
• Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
• Avoiding exposure to pesticides
Because there are no known ways to prevent breast cancer, one of the most important actions is to follow early detection guidelines. Early detection greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.
Recent research has been conducted into reducing the risk of breast cancer in women who are at higher risk for the disease, such as older women, women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and women with a family history of the disease. The estrogen blocker tamoxifen, which is used to treat breast cancer, has also been approved for use in breast cancer risk reduction. Tamoxifen has also been used to prevent recurrence of breast cancer in women already treated for the disease. Tamoxifen has been shown to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by about 50 percent in postmenopausal women. Other drugs are also being studied for their potential use in risk reduction.
Women at extremely high risk for breast cancer, such as those with BRCA gene mutations and a...