1.3 Risk reduction

1.3 Risk reduction

Everyone should be encouraged to reduce their modifiable risk factors (see section 1.1).

For women assessed as having an increased risk of breast cancer, antihormonal risk-reducing medication such as tamoxifen, raloxifene or an aromatase inhibitor is an option to lower the risk of developing breast cancer. Decisions about whether to use risk-reducing medication should be based on an accurate risk assessment and clear understanding of the absolute benefits and risks for each individual woman. The benefits and risks for an individual can be assessed by using iPrevent.

Risk-reducing surgery such as prophylactic bilateral mastectomy may be considered by women at high risk of developing breast cancer (NCI 2015), including those with a mutation in a major breast cancer predisposition gene such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 (Cancer Council Australia 2015).

Bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy reduces the absolute risk of breast cancer by at least 90 per cent (NCI 2015). Even with total mastectomy, not all breast tissue can be removed. The remaining breast tissue may be at risk of becoming cancerous in the future (NCI 2013).

Knowledge of a woman’s risk factors can be used to objectively assess her individual breast cancer risk using a validated tool such as iPrevent.