USPSTF recommends offering medication to women at increased risk for breast cancer

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published a draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review that says clinicians should offer “risk-reducing medications” to women at an increased risk for breast cancer. Those women should also be at a low-risk for any adverse effects associated with such medication, the USPSTF added.

This represents a “B” recommendation from the independent group. Offering women not at an increased risk for breast cancer risk-reducing medications gets a “D” recommendation, meaning it is not recommended.

Examples of the medications being recommended by the USPSTF are tamoxifen, raloxifene and aromatase inhibitors.

“Too many American women and families are faced with the challenge of dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis,” Michael J. Barry, MD, USPSTF member, said in a prepared statement. “Women who are at increased risk for breast cancer should be offered medications that can help reduce that risk.”

“When deciding whether or not to offer medications, clinicians should carefully consider their patients’ risk factors for breast cancer and balance these against the potential harms from the medications,” Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, another USPSTF member, said in the same statement. “These medications are not for everyone, and for women who are not at increased risk of breast cancer, the harms of these medications are likely to outweigh the benefits.”

The full PDF of the USPSTF statement is available to download here.