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The prevention of breast cancer

, : The prevention of breast cancer. British Journal of Surgery 90(7): 772-783

Despite advances in the early detection and treatment of breast carcinoma, the mortality and morbidity rates associated with this disease remain high. Primary prevention, therefore, offers the best chance of making a major impact on outcome. The aim was to review the rationale, current stage of development and adverse effects of the strategies involved in the primary prevention of breast carcinoma. A review of the literature was undertaken by searching the MEDLINE database for the period 1966-2002 without language restrictions. Currently, the only agent to have general approval for chemoprevention of breast carcinoma is tamoxifen. Women who derive the greatest benefit in terms of risk reduction from tamoxifen are premenopausal with a 5-year Gail risk factor of more than 1.66 per cent, postmenopausal with a 5-year Gail risk factor of more than 3 per cent, and postmenopausal without a uterus. In these specific subgroups, tamoxifen should be considered for the chemoprevention of breast carcinoma. Raloxifene, retinoids, aromatase inhibitors and cyclo-oxygenase 2 inhibitors require further clinical investigation before adoption in this context. Surgical intervention should largely be limited to those women who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

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Accession: 050698967

PMID: 12854100

DOI: 10.1002/bjs.4218

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