Wednesday, December 9, 2015

5 of 6 at-risk women reject breast cancer prevention drug

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 9, 2015 –Five in six women with increased risk of breast cancer turn down drugs likely to prevent the disease, according to research published in Annals of Oncology

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London collected data from 21,000 women of all ages who were at increased risk of developing breast cancer and had taken part in 26 international studies. 

The women in these studies were offered a five-year course of preventive medication such as tamoxifen, raloxifene or anastrozole. The drugs block cancer-causing hormones which have been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer for women at higher risk. Research has shown that taking raloxifene can lower the risk of breast cancer in women who are at high or moderate risk of developing it.  The breast cancer drug tamoxifen has been shown to protect against the disease for at least 20 years in women who take the drug for five years.

When offered to women with a family history of the disease with a moderate to high risk of breast cancer as part of a clinical trial with ongoing surveillance including an annual mammogram, 25 per cent chose it compared with 9 percent of women making the decision outside a clinical trial.

Of the studies that tracked women's use of preventative medications over time, most reported more than 80 per cent of women took the drugs for at least one year. But this declined over time.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's head cancer information nurse, said: "We need to find out more about how women at higher risk of breast cancer make decisions about the different ways they can reduce the risk of developing the disease, to make sure that they have the information they need to make the choice that is right for them."

Source: UK Research press release

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