An option for women at increased risk for breast cancer

 

If you are at high risk for developing breast cancer there is an option you might want to consider that greatly reduces your risk. Your risk of developing breast cancer is high if you are over 60, have a first degree relative who has had diabetes, or have had a prior breast biopsy, especially if it showed atypical hyperplasia.

Aromatase inhibitors are a class of drugs used to treat breast cancer. One of them, Aromasine, has been recently shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 65 percent in women at increased risk of developing the disease (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/health/research/05cancer.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Aromatase%20inhibitor&st=cse). Two other drugs in this class also approved for preventing breast cancer, tamoxifen and reloxifene, are rarely used because of serious side effects like blood clots. Aromasine is largely free of serious side effects.

Since these drugs are mainly in the treatment arsenal of oncologists, your primary care doctor or gynecologist may not be familiar with them. If you are at increased risk for breast cancer, bring your doctor up to speed and have a frank discussion about this treatment option. Remember, the more you know, the better your care.

 

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