Preventing Breast Cancer Through Identification and Pharmacologic Management of High-Risk Patients

Elizabeth A. Gilman, Sandhya Pruthi, Erin W. Hofstatter, Dawn M. Mussallem

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women in the United States. For certain women at high risk for breast cancer, endocrine therapy (ET) can greatly decrease the risk. Tools such as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (or Gail Model) and the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study risk calculator are available to help identify women at increased risk for breast cancer. Physician awareness of family history, reproductive and lifestyle factors, dense breast tissue, and history of benign proliferative breast disease are important when identifying high-risk women. The updated US Preventive Services Task Force and American Society of Clinical Oncology guidelines encourage primary care providers to identify at-risk women and offer risk-reducing medications. Among the various ETs, which include tamoxifen, raloxifene, anastrozole, and exemestane, tamoxifen is the only one available for premenopausal women aged 35 years and older. A shared decision-making process should be used to increase the usage of ET and must be individualized. This individualized approach must account for each woman's medical history and weigh the benefits and risks of ET in combination with the personal values of the patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1040
Number of pages8
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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