Can breast cancer be prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk, such as changing risk factors that you can control.
Body weight, physical activity, and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these might be areas where you can take action. Read the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention to learn more.
Medical options for women at increased risk
For women who have certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history, there are a number of medical options that may help prevent breast cancer.
Drugs to reduce risk
For women at increased risk of breast cancer, drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene have been shown to reduce the risk, but these drugs can have their own risks and side effects. Other drugs, such as aromatase inhibitors, and dietary supplements that may help lower risk are also being studied. See Medicines to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk for more information.
If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, you can talk to your doctor about genetic testing for mutations in genes that increase the risk of breast cancer, such as the BRCA genes. If you have a genetic mutation or come from a family with a mutation but haven’t been tested, you could consider surgery to lower your risk of cancer.
Last Medical Review: 09/25/2014
Last Revised: 05/04/2016