Strategies for breast cancer prevention include:
Screening: Breast cancer screening with mammography effectively detects breast cancer at early stages (sometimes 1 to 3 years before a lump is apparent), when the disease is most treatable. Women 40 years of age and older should receive mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modifiers (SERMs): Results from a large clinical trial indicate that long-term treatment with tamoxifen (a SERM with both estrogenic and ant-estrogenic effects) decreases the incidence of breast cancer. Another clinical trial is underway to compare the efficacy at breast cancer prevention of tamoxifen (developed more than 30 years ago; trade names Tamoxifen, Nolvadex, and Soltamox) with the newer SERM raloxifene (trade name Evista). [STAR clinical trial]
Mastectomy: Prophylactic mastectomies performed in women at high risk of developing breast cancer (due to family history or BRAC1 or BRAC2 mutations) reduced the incidence of breast cancer.
Diet: Low-fat diets high in carotenoids combined with fish oils and high in folate and B vitamins appear to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.