Risk factors for and preventative actions to address breast cancer in women with schizophrenia are identified in an article published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.
Risk factors for breast cancer relevant to women with schizophrenia include obesity, elevated prolactin levels, low rates of mammography screening, high rates of diabetes, low incidence of breastfeeding, social disadvantage, higher levels of smoking and alcohol consumption, and low activity levels.
It is recommended that knowledge of these risk factors should lead to: more accurate risk ascertainment; stronger links with primary care; regular monitoring and screening; lower doses of well chosen antipsychotic medications; additional use of cognitive and psychosocial therapies; referral to diet and exercise, and smoking and drinking cessation programs; avoidance of hormonal treatment; and discussion with the individual and family about the pros and cons of preventative measures. The author identifies psychiatrists as being in a key position to address many of the identified risk factors.
See “Preventing Breast Cancer in Women with Schizophrenia,” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (published online October 20, 2010), available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.