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All About Breast Cancer Prevention and Lowering Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Risk Factors, Reducing Risk, Protect Your Breast Health


Updated July 02, 2011

Breast Self Exam:  Stroke Exam 4

Breast Self Exam

National Cancer Institute
Prevention: actions which reduce the chance of getting a disease

Why You Need To Know About Breast Cancer Prevention

In 2007, an estimated 240,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in America. Of those diagnosed, 40,000 will die from this disease. Although some of the contributors to the development of breast cancer are known, there is no guaranteed way to prevent it. But by educating yourself and taking control of some lifestyle factors, you can lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Understanding Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Your risk is calculated by looking at several factors, some of which you are born with, and some of which you can choose. Knowing your health background will help you and your doctor make good choices about lifestyle and health care, which can lower your risk of breast cancer. You can try online risk assessment tools, but don’t use these as a substitute for talking with your doctor.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors in Detail:

Factors You Can’t Control
  • Gender
  • Genes
  • Race
  • Age
  • Menopausal status
  • Drugs and treatments
  • Menses onset
  • Family Health History
Lifestyle Factors You Can Control

Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Whether you are at low or high risk, you have many options to lower your risk. When it’s found at an early stage, breast cancer can effectively be treated, and there are several ways to help prevent recurrence. Take responsibility for your breast health.

Protect Your Breast Health

Breast Cancer Risk Myths

Ongoing Research – the Future of Breast Cancer Prevention

Will breast cancer ever be preventable? Researchers hope so, and the National Cancer Institute says that clinical trials for high-risk women have been done. Since estrogen fuels 80% of all breast cancers, the trials have focused on drugs that affect estrogen levels. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) such as Tamoxifen and Raloxifene have been tested, and appear to help prevent the development of breast cancer, but all the results are not in yet. Aromatase inhibitors, such as Aromasin, help prevent estrogen production, and are still in trial studies. Genetic tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 are now available to help women determine the degree of risk they may face. In very high-risk patients, preventive mastectomy may be considered, as well as oophorectomy (removal of ovaries to lower estrogen levels). If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the options that would lower your risk.


National Cancer Institute. Fact Sheet. Breast Cancer Prevention Studies. Updated: 06/01/2005.

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