Campus News

Preventive measures

A federally backed health panel concluded in April that women at high risk for breast cancer should consider using drugs to prevent the disease.

Dr. Mark Ebell, associate professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health, sits on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

After the panel released its findings, Ebell explained the recommendations to the Reuters Health and The Boston Globe news outlets.

Preventive drugs such as tamoxifen and roloxifene reduce the chance of some breast cancers, in most cases with limited side effects. However, the drugs are not yet widely used. Ebell told The Globe, “A fairly small percentage of women who have a net benefit actually do end up taking one of these drugs.”

He told Reuters Health, “I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer for women. The main thing is just for women to be aware of this as an option and to talk to their doctor if they think they might be at increased risk.”