Breast Cancer Prevention (cont.)

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There are two important aspects in breast cancer prevention: early detection and risk reduction. Screening may identify early noninvasive cancers and allow treatment before they become invasive or identify invasive cancers at an early treatable stage. But screening does not, per se, prevent cancer. Breast cancer prevention really must be understood as risk reduction. In extremely high-risk patients, such as those who have BRCA mutations, risk reduction may involve prophylactic surgical removal of the breasts and ovaries. For the average patient, lifestyle modifications (diet, exercise, weight loss) may be easily recommended and have many other benefits. For patients who have an increased risk based on other factors, the use of hormone-blocking agents, in addition to the usual lifestyle recommendations, may also be considered.

Breast Cancer Prevention Tips

  • There is no absolute or definitive way to prevent breast cancer.
  • Routine screening and early detection remain the most effective ways to reduce breast cancer deaths. But screening does not prevent breast cancer from occurring.
  • Medications are an option for decreasing the likelihood of breast cancer in some women at high risk for developing breast cancer. There is no evidence to suggest that these medications should be used in women withat average risk.
  • Reduction of risk factors can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer:
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Consume alcohol only in moderation.
    • Get regular exercise.


American Cancer Society. "Breast Cancer." <>.

"Breast Cancer." National Cancer Institute.

"Survival Rates for Breast Cancer." American Cancer Society.

Gabriel, E. M. and Ismail Jatoi. "Breast Cancer Chemoprevention." Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy. 12:2 (2012):223-228.

Stopeck, Alison T., et al. "Breast Cancer." Medscape. 24 Sept. 2013.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2015

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Breast Cancer Prevention - Mammograms Question: How often do you get a mammogram? How old were you when you received your first screening?
Breast Cancer Prevention - Genetic Tests Question: Does your family have a history of breast or other cancers? Have any relatives been tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?
Breast Cancer Prevention - Early Detection Question: Were you diagnosed with early stage breast cancer? If so, what was the treatment?
Breast Cancer Prevention - Foods Question: Are you eating certain foods to reduce your risk of breast cancer?