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Aromatase Therapy May Lessen Contralateral Breast Cancer Risk

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may find their risk for developing the disease in their healthy breast rises. While prophylactic mastectomies are sometimes recommended, a different form of therapy may offer hope for those who wish to avoid this eventuality. Researchers have found that aromatase inhibitors may help reduce the risk of contralateral breast cancer in women who carry very specific genetic mutations.

To arrive at those findings, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston tracked women who were BRCA mutation carriers and who had been diagnosed with hormone-positive breast cancer. These women opted against prophylactic mastectomies. While researchers found that women with BRCA 1 and 2 mutations were more likely to develop contralateral breast cancer, the risk fell in those who received aromatase inhibitors.

The findings, researchers say, may help women who are BRCA 1 or 2 positive prevent the development of contralateral breast cancer. While more research is needed to confirm the findings, the study indicates this form of therapy could hold promise for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and wish to avoid double mastectomies.

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in American women. Women are urged to speak with their healthcare providers for information on early detection and to gauge their specific risk. Women who carry the BRCA gene mutations may be at higher risk for developing this disease. Routine self-examinations, clinical exams and mammograms can help in the early detection of this disease should it present.

Should breast cancer be diagnosed, women should explore all the facts related to their case. While aromatase therapy may lower the risk for contralateral breast cancer, it may not be advised in all cases. Prophylactic mastectomies may still offer the best chance for avoiding complications down the road.

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