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USPSTF: Offer Preventive Meds to Women at Risk of Breast Cancer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 (Last Updated: 04/17/2013)

TUESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women who are at increased risk of primary breast cancer consider taking preventive medications such as tamoxifen. This Recommendation Statement is based on an evidence review published in the April 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues reviewed the literature to update evidence about the effectiveness and adverse effects of medications to reduce breast cancer risk. Based on data from seven good- and fair-quality trials, the researchers found that tamoxifen and raloxifene reduced the incidence of breast cancer, compared with placebo. New results suggested that tamoxifen reduced the incidence more than raloxifene. Neither agent reduced breast cancer-specific or all-cause mortality rates, but both reduced the incidence of fractures. Tamoxifen correlated with increased incidence of endometrial cancer and cataracts.

Based on these findings, after conducting a formal breast cancer risk assessment, the Task Force recommends that doctors discuss the benefits and harms of these medications with women who are at increased risk. The draft Recommendation Statement, which applies to women ages 40 to 70 without signs or symptoms of breast cancer and who have never previously been diagnosed with breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ, is available for comment from April 16 to May 13, 2013.

"We all want to find effective ways to prevent breast cancer," Task Force member Mark Ebell, M.D., said in a statement. "While we need more and better solutions, some women at increased risk for breast cancer may choose to take available preventive medications to reduce their chances of developing breast cancer."

Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendations
Background Review

Specialties Urology
Hematology & Oncology
Surgery
Family Practice
Internal Medicine
Psychiatry

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