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BREAST CANCER PREVENTION

ANCHOR LEAD: FOR SOME WOMEN, BREAST CANCER MAY ACTUALLY BE PREVENTABLE.  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Postmenopausal women at high risk for breast cancer may be able to prevent the disease by careful assessment and use of two drugs, a recent study in the Journal of  the National Cancer Institute reports.  Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, explains the strategy.

PARK:  I think the twist on this is that they suggest that if you combine some of the factors that have previously been used, for example breast density, as well as other risk factors, that you may be better able to risk stratify women, and I think that’s not surprising, but they do add to the overall body of literature.    :17

Two FDA approved medications are also employed.

PARK:  Chemoprevention can work.  We’re talking about two drugs, tamoxifen and reloxifene, that are now FDA approved for prevention of breast cancer in women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.                 :12

Park says careful assessment is key as both drugs are associated with side effects, sometimes serious ones, so the risk-benefit analysis must be favorable.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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