An FDA-approved study working to lower breast cancer risk for women with dense breasts by using a topical gel was developed by a pharmaceutical company in Germany.
"It's a very specific metabolite of a drug that we already know reduces breast cancer risk," said Dr. Michael Swor, a gynecologist and research investigator in the study.
Instead of a pill like tamoxifen, the drug is dispensed as a gel. And early research indicates it has fewer side effects than other medications.
"If you're between the ages of 35 and 75 and you've had a mammogram that showed dense breast tissue, then because you're at increased risk of breast cancer then you're a candidate for the study," Swor said.
Unfortunately, if you've had breast cancer or breast surgery, you would not qualify to take part in the study.
So far though, Swor said early research looks promising.
"I’m really excited about this because in my mind I can see this as being something that women who are at risk for breast cancer can actually do that I believe won't have major side effects or risks, but will significantly decrease their cancer risk," said Swor.
The idea of using a topical gel is a way to minimize exposure to the rest of the body and concentrate the drug in the breast where it is needed, avoiding the drug circulating in the bloodstream and the body when taken orally and hopefully avoiding side effects.