Breast Cancer

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Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention TOPICS

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 are under your control. (See the section "What are the risk factors for breast cancer?")

For example, body weight, physical activity, and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these might be areas where you can take action. This is discussed in more detail in our document American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.

Taking a drug to lower your breast cancer risk may also be an option. This is discussed in more detail in our document Medicines to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk.

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 such as mutation or come from a family with a mutation but haven’t been tested, you could consider surgery to lower your risk of cancer.

Our document Breast Cancer Prevention and Early Detection has more detailed information about ways to lower your risk of breast cancer.


Last Medical Review: 09/25/2014
Last Revised: 12/01/2014