Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Few Women Want Drug to Prevent Breast Cancer

Weighing Benefits and Risks of Tamoxifen Is Difficult, They Say

What Mattered Most

More than half of the women said the following benefits and risks were "very important" in their decision:

About 15% said it would be difficult or very difficult to decide whether to take tamoxifen.

Cancer prevention drugs "must have few potential adverse effects to achieve widespread acceptance," the researchers conclude.

Some women said they weren't doing anything special to prevent breast cancer. But others mentioned doctor visits for breast exams and mammograms, as well as exercise and changes in diet (reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine). Also mentioned was reducing or stopping the use of tobacco.

Overall, the women seemed to weigh their perceived risk factors against their personal prevention strategies, sizing up their susceptibility before deciding about tamoxifen, says the study.

Exaggerated Sense of Risk

Another trend also stood out. The women tended to overestimate their breast cancer risk, sometimes rating it 10 times higher than it actually was.

Women's average self-perceived risk of developing breast cancer in the next five years was almost 33%. But the calculations by the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Program put it at about 3%.

Despite the inflated sense of risk, about 70% described their risk as "low" or "average."

See a Doctor for Questions

It's important for women to see a doctor about any breast concerns and to follow recommended screening guidelines, whether or not they think they're at high risk.

Early detection improves a woman's chances of survival. There are more than 2 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., says the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women after skin cancer and the leading cause of women's cancer deaths after lung cancer, says the ACS.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow