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Can breast cancer be prevented?

Research can't conclusively tell women how to prevent breast cancer. The three primary risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman, getting older, or having a mother or sister who has had the disease. These are factors that women can't do much to change. While the findings are not conclusive, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink and eating a high fiber, low-fat diet might be beneficial.


The good news is that deaths from breast cancer have stabilized. Early detection and improved treatment are having an impact. Treatment is more effective and survival is high when breast cancer is found early. Mammograms are not perfect; however, done in combination with self-breast exams and periodic exams by your health care provider, they are effective in detecting most breast cancer early. It is generally agreed that mammograms decrease deaths from breast cancer in women ages 50 and over. There is less agreement about their value for younger women.


Gail Carlson, MPH Ph.D., Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia



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Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008




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