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Abstract

Due to the high incidence of breast cancer among US females, risk-reduction strategies are essential. Before considering approaches to breast cancer risk reduction, it is important for clinicians to complete individualized qualitative and quantitative assessments of risk for their patients in order to inform physicians' clinical decision making and management and to engage patients collaboratively in a thorough discussion of risks and benefits. This review will summarize information on potential pharmacologic, nutritional, surgical, and behavioral approaches to reducing breast cancer risk.

While there is no clear evidence that specific dietary components can effectively reduce breast cancer risk, weight gain and obesity in adulthood are risk factors for the development of postmenopausal breast cancer. Alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, increases breast cancer risk, although some of the detrimental effects may be reduced by sufficient folate intake. Women at increased risk of breast cancer can opt to reduce their breast cancer risk through the use of tamoxifen or raloxifene; other chemopreventive agents remain under investigation. Surgical approaches to risk reductions are restricted to those patients with a substantially increased risk of developing breast cancer. Patients should be encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle for their overall well-being and to remain up to date with recommendations for screening and surveillance.

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