Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer

A variety of risk factors for breast cancer have been well established by epidemiologic studies including race, ethnicity, family history of cancer, and genetic traits, as well as modifiable exposures such as increased alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, exogenous hormones, and certain female reproductive factors.1,7 Efforts to prevent breast cancer and other chronic illnesses have focused on promoting physical activity, healthy diet and nutrition, and avoidance of excessive alcohol consumption. It is likely that, in addition to biological and genetic factors, social and environmental factors (for example, severe stress due to living in poverty) have an adverse impact on access to timely screening and treatment and may also influence how breast cancer is expressed.3,4,9 Recent advances in understanding the molecular biology of breast cancer have prompted efforts to better understand approaches for preventing the disease among higher-risk women who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease.

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