Breast Cancer and the Role of Tamoxifen in Prevention
Cain, Susan Scott
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Breast cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among U.S. women. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in premenopausal women. Discoveries regarding breast cancer are proceeding rapidly and yet we have limited knowledge as to what causes breast cancer. The discovery of the BRCA genes was a major breakthrough in cancer research, but just what role genetics plays in the development of breast cancer and what the implications are for treatment and prevention remain somewhat elusive. Lifetime exposure to estrogen also confers risk for developing breast cancer. Are these two factors interrelated? A recently published study claims that the drug Tamoxifen can reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 50%. This paper examines some of the research regarding the latest breast cancer discoveries with the end aim of allowing a critical examination of the role of Tamoxifen as a preventative measure.