Reducing Your Risk
Here at Pink Hope, we encourage all women to know their breast and ovarian cancer risks, and once you have an idea of that, the next step is reducing your risk. Here are a few ways to help reduce your risk. Talk to your doctor about which ones are best for you.
Family Cancer Clinics
Family cancer clinics can assess your family history of cancer and give information and support to help individuals and families understand their personalised level of cancer risk. This can include understanding how likely it is that a hereditary gene may be involved, helping organise genetic testing where appropriate, and providing recommendations on how to manage any increased cancer risk such as surveillance programs. For more about Family Cancer Clinics, read more here.
Women who are at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer may decide in conjunction with their healthcare team to undergo risk-reducing surgery. The kinds of surgeries available for at-risk women depend on each personal situation and your health team’s recommendations, but for an overview of the options, read more here.
Risk-reducing surgery removes body tissue that is most likely to be at risk for cancer and can be used for both breast and ovarian tissue. Such surgeries can greatly reduce your risk. Undergoing these surgeries is a big and very personal decision, and must be discussed in length with your healthcare team. For more on gynaecological surgery, read more here.
When it comes to breast and ovarian cancer, early detection is key and one of the easiest ways to do that is with regular screenings. The benefits of early detection include increased survival, increased treatment options and improved quality of life. Read more information here on the different types of breast and ovary screenings available.
Breast Cancer Risk-Reducing Medication
Risk-reducing medication may be considered for use by women who have been assessed as being at increased risk of breast cancer, based on family history. These medications include Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) such as Tamoxifen (which can work in pre and post-menopausal women) and Raloxifene which has only been tested in postmenopausal women. The decision to take risk-reducing medication should only be made after a discussion with your medical team about all relevant management options, including screening, and risk-reducing surgery (if appropriate). For more on these kinds of medications, as well as others, read more here.
Understanding Your Risk
Are you classified as ‘low risk, “moderate risk; or ‘high risk’? Understanding your own individual risk of cancer, gives you an opportunity to equip yourself with lifesaving information. To understand your risk classification more, read more here. And if you want to learn more about breast cancer in men, check out this blog.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
You know your body better than anyone, even your doctor, so it’s important that you monitor it every day, especially when it comes to breast and ovarian cancer. This includes self-breast examination and remembering to stay on top of your health checks to give you the best chance of early detection. Watch this webinar to learn more about becoming your own health advocate.