Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?
In most diseases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But in
breast cancer, we still don't have proven preventive strategies. A recent study
even countered the theory that a low fat diet reduces breast cancer risk. The
best preventive advice we have is to maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke,
and limit alcohol.
Ongoing research has taught us much about breast cancer treatment. But we
still don't know much about breast cancer prevention.
The best weapon against breast cancer remains early detection. All women over
18 should perform monthly breast self exams, have annual breast exams by their
health care provider, and have annual mammograms at age 40. There are also other
tests that can help evaluate breast masses, such as ultrasound or MRI. These
tools may eliminate the need for a biopsy or make a biopsy much more reliable
when performed together.
a close family history of breast cancer should talk to their doctors about tamoxifen,
a drug which is approved to prevent as well as treat breast cancer.
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Created: 10/9/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.