Recently, England was approved for the medicine anastrozole to help reduce breast cancer risk. This drug is for women who have an increased risk of developing this disease. The drug has been approved for years in England. But now its healthcare system has expanded its use to more than 250,000 citizens who are at moderate to high risk for breast cancer.
Some medicines can help reduce breast cancer risk for women with higher than average chance of getting this disease. As with any medicinal drugs, there are side effects. As such, you should thoroughly understand the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to take one.
Anastrozole is just one of the drugs that might be a good option for breast cancer prevention. But there are other medicines such as raloxifene and tamoxifen that might also reduce breast cancer risk.
How To Know If You’re At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer
There are certain risk factors that raises your chances of getting a disease. Each person’s risk factors need to be assessed by medical professionals. However, just because you have certain risk factors does not mean that you are destined to develop breast cancer. Generally speaking, many women never develop breast cancer even when they have one or more risk factors.
Some known breast cancer risk factors include:
- Having longer total menstrual cycles.
- Being diagnosed with atypical lobular or ductal hyperplasia.
- Have close relatives who have had breast cancer.
- Being diagnosed with lobular carcinoma.
- Getting older.
- Have a gene mutation linked to a family cancer syndrome.
You should know though that some of the above risk factors increase your risk more than others.
Should I Take Medicine To Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?
The first thing to do is have your doctor assess your breast cancer risk before deciding if you should take medicine to help lower your chances of breast cancer. Before considering taking one of the above drugs, experts say that your risk of getting breast cancer should be higher than average.
Even if you do have higher than average risk, it’s crucial that you do your own research and definitely get a second opinion. In either case, compare the drug’s benefits of possibly reducing your breast cancer risk to the drug’s side effects.
If you think that you are at higher than average risk for breast cancer, speak with your healthcare provider immediately. You should also be getting annual mammograms starting at age 40.
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