Prevention from breast cancer
These modifications might prevent 38% of breast cancers in the US, 42% in the UK, 28% in Brazil and 20% in China. The benefits with moderate exercise such as brisk walking are seen at all age groups including postmenopausal women. High levels of physical activity reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 14%. Strategies that encourage regular physical activity and reduce obesity could also have other benefits, such as reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
High intake of citrus fruit has been associated with a 10% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to reduce the risk. High consumption of soy-based foods may reduce risk.
Removal of both breasts before any cancer has been diagnosed or any suspicious lump or other lesion has appeared (a procedure known as prophylactic bilateral mastectomy) may be considered in people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which are associated with a substantially heightened risk for an eventual diagnosis of breast cancer. Evidence is not strong enough to support this procedure in anyone but those at the highest risk. BRCA testing is recommended in those with a high family risk after genetic counseling. It is not recommended routinely. This is because there are many forms of changes in BRCA genes, ranging from harmless polymorphisms to obviously dangerous frameshift mutations. The effect of most of identifiable changes in the genes is uncertain. Testing in an average-risk person is particularly likely to return one of these indeterminate, useless results. It is unclear if removing the second breast in those who have breast cancer in one is beneficial.
The selective estrogen receptor modulators (such as tamoxifen) reduce the risk of breast cancer but increase the risk of thromboembolism and endometrial cancer. There is no overall change in the risk of death. They are thus not recommended for the prevention of breast cancer in women at average risk but may be offered for those at high risk. The benefit of breast cancer reduction continues for at least five years after stopping a course of treatment with these medications.