Dr. Hofstatter on Breast Cancer Chemoprevention

Erin W. Hofstatter, MD, assistant professor of medicine (medical oncology), co-director, Genetic Counseling Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses chemoprevention to reduce one's risk of developing breast cancer.

Erin W. Hofstatter, MD, assistant professor of medicine (medical oncology), co-director, Genetic Counseling Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses chemoprevention to reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Hofstatter says it is a misconception to assume that the only people who should consider chemoprevention are those with a strong family history or who have a BRCA1/2 mutation. Studies that have looked at tamoxifen or exemestane have included a wider range of women.

Researchers have learned that the benefits of taking tamoxifen, even for as little as 5 years, last for up to 20 years, Hofstatter says. While these medications seem to reduce the risk of breast cancer up to a half, many people are afraid of the side effect profile. Hofstatter says in order to get more women to undergo chemoprevention, better identification of those at high risk and better drugs with lower side effects need to be developed.