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Breast Cancer Risk-reducing Strategies

The Breast cancer Personalized Risk assessment, Education and Prevention (B-PREP) Program will educate you about the many ways you can take control of your breast health—minimizing your chances of developing cancer. You will gain a better understanding of breast cancer and learn risk-reducing strategies, from simple lifestyle changes to medical and surgical options.

Make an Appointment

If you are concerned that you are at-risk for breast cancer and would like an in-depth evaluation by our breast cancer specialists in the B-PREP Program, call (617) 732-8111. For more information on patient registration or scheduling an appointment with a Breast Specialist please visit our appointment page.

Breast Cancer Risk-reducing Strategies

Healthy lifestyle choices can dramatically reduce your risk of developing breast cancer while also improving your emotional well-being. A healthy lifestyle can positively alter the course of other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity.

Women concerned about developing breast cancer should:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole grain foods
  • Limit processed foods and red meat
  • Choose polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Limit menopausal hormone therapy
  • Breast feed if possible

Learn more about healthy lifestyle choices.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Risk-reducing Medications (Preventive Medicine)

Risk-reducing medications, also referred to as chemoprevention, include the drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene. They have been shown to lower breast cancer risk in certain women. We will discuss whether these medications are appropriate for you.

Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer Prevention

SEARCH High-Risk Biorepository (Study 10-458)

SEARCH is a biorepository, or library of patient samples and information, for our patients who have been found to have changes in their breast tissue that increase their risk; such as atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). The study asks for access to health records to better understand your individual risk factors for breast cancer, a one-time blood sample, and access to previous biopsy tissue samples. If you have been diagnosed with one of these breast lesions you may be eligible.

Tamoxifen Gel For Women With Dense Breasts (Study 17-745)

Having dense breast tissue on a mammogram can be a risk factor for breast cancer. This study tests whether applying a colorless, odorless gel that contains the active byproduct of the medication tamoxifen (called 4-OHT) to the skin of both breasts can decrease mammographic breast density. If your recent mammogram result indicates that you have dense breasts, you may be eligible.

Exercise For Women With High Breast Density (Study 18-168)

Women who exercise regularly have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who lead more sedentary lifestyles. This 12-week study will test how exercise, both aerobic and strength training, impacts the breast tissue and will help us better understand the relationship between exercise and breast cancer risk. This study is also aimed at women with dense breast tissue on mammography. If your recent mammogram result indicates that you have dense breasts, you may be eligible.

Learn more about available clinical trials focusing on breast cancer prevention.

Breast Cancer Prophylactic Surgery

Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, the removal of both breasts to prevent breast cancer, can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk. Women who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and those with a strong family history of breast cancer may consider this surgical procedure. Breast specialists in the B-PREP Program will discuss the pros and cons of preventive surgery with you.

If you choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy, our surgical oncologists work cooperatively with plastic surgeons to help you achieve the best results.

Learn more about breast cancer prophylactic mastectomy.


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