The most important risk factors for the development of breast cancer, such as age and family history, cannot be controlled by the individual. Some risk factors may be in a woman’s control; however. These include things like avoiding long-term hormone replacement therapy, having children before age 30, breastfeeding, avoiding weight gain through exercise and proper diet, and limiting alcohol consumption to 1 drink a day or less. For women already at very high risk due to family history, risk of developing breast cancer can be reduced by about 50% by taking a drug called Tamoxifen for five years. Tamoxifen has some common side effects (like hot flashes and vaginal discharge), which are not serious and some uncommon side effects (like blood clots, pulmonary embolus, stroke, and uterine cancer) which are life threatening. Tamoxifen isn’t widely used for prevention, but may be useful in some cases. Use of Tamoxifen for prophylactic reasons should be considered carefully by an individual and her doctor, as its use is very individualized. For more information on breast cancer prevention, see Risk and Prevention.

Source: http://www.oncolink.org/types/article.cfm?c=3&s=5&ss=33&id=8320&CFID=67227683&CFTOKEN=60863540

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