Medication can lower some women's risk of breast cancer

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer can lower that risk by taking certain medications, according to ...

NEW YORK - Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer can lower that risk by taking certain medications, according to updated recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force .

Figuring out whether you're one of those high-risk women is not straightforward. The Task Force statement mentions a couple of risk assessment tools but stops short of endorsing them because evidence shows they're not accurate for all women. Instead, the Task Force suggests that women with at least a 3per cent risk for breast cancer in the next 5 years are likely to benefit from risk-reducing medications and should be offered them if their risk of harm from the drugs is low.

"Additionally," Dr. Barry said,"we also need more evidence to better understand the lifelong benefits and harms of these medications and how they can reduce risk in specific populations, such as African-American women who are more likely to die of breast cancer." Dr. Heidi D. Nelson from Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, who co-authored the evidence review that supports the recommendations, told Reuters Health,"Various risk criteria were used to enroll women into trials of risk-reducing medications. These criteria usually included family history of breast cancer and previous benign breast biopsy, particularly atypical hyperplasia.

 

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