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Breast Cancer Chemoprevention: A Practical Guide for the Primary Care Provider. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2020 Jan;29(1):46-56



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Several organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the United States Preventive Services Task Force, recommend incorporation of breast cancer risk-based counseling and chemoprevention into routine well-woman care. However, primary care providers report both discomfort with and a lack of medical knowledge on this topic. In this review we present a practical, evidence-based guide for incorporating breast cancer risk assessment and chemoprevention into routine care. We advocate a stepwise approach consisting of: (1) risk assessment and communication, (2) selection of appropriate chemoprevention based on risk-benefit analysis, (3) shared decision-making regarding chemoprevention, and (4) management of chemoprevention side effects. We encourage providers to identify high-risk women and refer them to genetic counseling or a high-risk breast cancer clinic. For women who are not considered high risk, we suggest using the Gail model to estimate a woman's 5-year risk of invasive breast cancer. Usually, the benefits of chemoprevention outweigh the risks of chemoprevention once a woman's 5-year risk of invasive breast cancer reaches 3%. For these women there are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a chemoprevention agent, including patient preference, thrombotic history, menopausal status, absence or presence of a uterus, and bone mineral density. We advocate an evidence-based shared decision-making approach that reflects the woman's individual preferences when communicating risk and counseling about chemoprevention. After starting a chemoprevention agent, close follow-up is important as side effects of chemoprevention are common, including vasomotor symptoms and arthralgias. We also review evidence-based management of chemoprevention side effects.

Author List

Farkas A, Vanderberg R, Merriam S, DiNardo D


Amy H. Farkas MD, MS Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

jenkins-FCD Prod-444 eb4ebd1a08581aba961d3befd3b851a3c3ec6b46