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Experts Recommend Medication for Women at High Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Woman taking medication.

Women who may have a higher than average risk of breast cancer might benefit from taking one of two drugs. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released preliminary guidelines encouraging doctors to recommend tamoxifen or raloxifene to high-risk patients who have a low risk of suffering side effects. Both drugs block the effect estrogen has on breast tissue, which can lead to hormone-caused cancer.

“Currently only a minority of women for whom the medication might be indicated are actually taking it,” Dr. Mark Ebell, a member of the USPSTF, told Reuters.

A review of the drugs organized by the USPSTF found they each reduced the chance of developing breast cancer from 30 to 56 percent, according to the source.

While women should ask their doctor to determine whether they are a candidate for the medication, the National Cancer Institute offers a risk calculator that can be taken and shared with a health care provider.

Additionally, the drugs can cause blood clots and other adverse side effects, which is why it’s being recommended for women who have a low risk of experiencing those symptoms.

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