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Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

Assessing Risk In Breast Cancer Prevention

by admin on: August 26th, 2011

Risk assessment isn???t just a concept used by financial advisers and stock brokers. It???s a concept we use in our everyday life when assessing the dangers of a certain action against its possible benefits. It???s a huge part of the decision-making process when it comes to medical treatment. Frankly, most medications do have serious side effects that must be weighed against the risks of going without treatment for illness.

Breast cancer is an illness that, while often treatable, threatens thousands of women. The statistics on breast cancer are less than reassuring. Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and more than 30,000 die from it annually. Those are scary numbers.

With modern medical techniques, however, breast cancer has become detectable and treatable. Now tests are able to isolate which women are at increased risk of the disease. This kind of knowledge can be extremely beneficial to getting the right help early for women with the disease.

Women at greater risk (because of a family history of breast cancer) have the option of using drugs as prevention. These patients must, of course, weigh the benefits of taking two drugs recommended for breast cancer prevention, Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, against the risks of side effects.

Studies show that the use of these medications can cut the incidence of breast cancer risk by 50%. Yet few women are using the medicines. Why? One issue is the side effects, which include higher stroke risk and chance of blood clots. Another reason is the difficulty in showing improvement from use of the medicines, as opposed to other medications, like blood pressure treatments, which have measurable results.

Until doctors and patients are both better able to understand and see the real benefits of treatment, progress in prevention may be slow, but at least there is now more hope for women at risk for breast cancer.