Chemoprevention for increased risk of breast cancer Overview

Therefore, carriers of the faulty genewho are younger than 40 usually wait to have this operation. Inheriting faulty versions or “variants” of these genes significantly raises your risk of developing cancer, because the altered genes cannot repair the damaged cells, which can build up and form a tumour. However, the drug is not currently offered to all the women who could benefit – possibly because some physicians are unsure of the evidence base for long term impact.

They can also give you advice on exercise and diet to help keep your bones strong. Your specialist will be able to explain the benefits and risks of taking anastrozole. By taking this medicine for 5 years, you have a better chance of being alive 15 years after your breast cancer was first diagnosed.

What about oestrogen blockers or aromatase inhibitors, how do they make a difference?

This is usually Tamoxifen for premenopausal women and an Aromatase inhibitor (e.g. Anastrozole) for post menopausal women. What is Letrozole Letrozole is a hormonal therapy drug used to treat breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause. Most women in the UK have a 15% chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, but that significantly increases if you have the mutation. If you have been assessed as having an increased familial breast cancer risk (moderate, high or very high) you should continue with breast screening plans, even if you have chosen chemoprevention.

It’s possible to become pregnant while taking anastrozole even if your periods have stopped with ovarian suppression. Your treatment team will tell you when to stop taking anastrozole. The recommended length of time that anastrozole is taken for will depend on your individual situation. We know that it is common to struggle with your mental health when you have cancer or care for someone with cancer. It is not known whether this drug comes through into the breast milk.

Living with BRCA gene alterations

Making patients aware of its high prevalence can be liberating for men who may feel stigmatised by their diagnosis. Pharmacists are optimally placed to signpost patients to available support and counselling services. There are no validated questionnaires or assessment tools to identify at risk patients for male infertility — examination and investigation are essential. Prior to this, patients may present to pharmacies to purchase antioxidants, which may be their first contact with healthcare professionals. Pharmacists can discuss general lifestyle information and review any medicines that may interfere with fertility. They should direct patients to their GP for examination and initial investigations.

Some may present with delayed puberty, undescended testes, low libido, erectile dysfunction, reduced need to shave, loss of muscle bulk or anaemia​[22]​. Pre-testicular refers to conditions affecting the hypothalamus or pituitary gland that result in low GnRH, LH or FSH, and a subsequent reduction in testosterone. This is commonly known as hypogonadotropic(low FSH and LH) hypogonadism (low testosterone)​[7]​. Primary testicular defects refer to inherent testicular problems resulting in decreased sperm and/or testosterone production.

We are unable to list all the possible interactions that may happen. An example is grapefruit or grapefruit juice which can increase the side effects of certain drugs. Talk to your team about your risk and what you can do to prevent or manage these conditions. Your healthcare team can tell you what products you can use on your skin to help.

Some people would rather not know about their risk and only want to be told if they actually develop cancer. Speak to a GP if cancer runs in your family and you’re worried you may get it too. They may refer you to a local genetics service for an NHS genetic test, which will tell you if you have inherited one of the cancer risk genes.

What is Anastrozole, and how does it help prevent breast cancer?

This is known as hypergonadotropic (high FSH and LH) hypogonadism (low testosterone). Making the distinction between hypogonadotropic and hypergonadotropic hypogonadism is essential because this determines treatment strategies​[4]​. Hot flushes are common while going through treatment, as are muscle and joint pain, nausea, headaches, skin changes, bone thinning, low mood and depression, and a loss of appetite. It is a type of hormone treatment and works by lowering the levels of oestrogen hormones in the body.

Tamoxifen was the first specific hormone-based therapy to be used in breast cancer treatment that demonstrated significant clinical success6. This drug is used in the treatment of pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women, as well as men, whose breast cancer biopsies showed elevated levels of the oestrogen receptor. Tamoxifen works by blocking the oestrogen receptors on the cancer cells.

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