Lowering your Risk of Breast Cancer through Prevention 

Through cancer prevention research and innovative clinical trials, our cancer team at Johns Hopkins continues to help our patients decrease the risk of certain cancers through a proactive approach to health. While not all risk factors for cancer can be modified, some are within our power to improve. Learn more about breast cancer prevention and screening.

Assessments Help Determine Prevention Options

Through education, advanced diagnostics and specialized high risk assessment and genetic testing, our team at the Breast Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins helps ensure that all women have their breast cancer risk assessed and are informed about preventive options available to them.

Women who have a family history of breast cancer or have family members who developed breast cancer at a young age may benefit from genetic testing, more tailored screening and lifestyle or medically based prevention plans.

Inherited Breast Cancer Concerns | Kala Visvanathan, MD MHS

Medical Oncologist and Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Breast and Ovarian Surveillance Service (BOSS) Dr. Kala Visvanathan discusses cancer as a family disease, who may be a good candidate for genetic testing, how testing is done, and what individuals need to know if they test positive for a genetic mutation.

Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

To reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, our cancer experts at the Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center suggest the following:

Adopt a healthy lifestyle: This is one of the best ways to reduce your risk for breast cancer. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of regular exercise and limiting your intake of alcohol.

Limit or eliminate factors that increase your risk of cancer such as smoking and exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Conduct breast self-exams, have annual gynecologic checkups including a clinical breast exam and get regularly scheduled mammograms.

Awareness of Breast Cancer Symptoms

These regularly scheduled examinations are a proactive approach to the identification of any abnormality or concerns. The earliest sign of breast cancer is an abnormality that shows up on a mammogram before it can even be felt by the patient or health care provider, however monthly self-exams help women know more quickly when something is abnormal or new symptoms develop. If you are experiencing any of the following physical symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Thickening, swelling or dimpling of the breast
  • Skin irritation
  • Distortion or retraction of the skin
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Nipple discharge

Making a Difference in the Prevention of Breast Cancers

For decades, The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has led the world in better understanding cancer. Through ongoing research and an innovative approach to prevention, treatment and wellness, we continue to stand strong against breast cancer.

The John Fetting Fund

The John Fetting Fund for Breast Cancer Prevention will enable us to fund the most promising research in breast cancer prevention. The Fetting Fund supports basic and translational breast cancer prevention research performed by or under the direct supervision of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Program.