GPs should offer preventative drug treatments for breast cancer

28 March 2011

Women at risk of developing breast cancer should be offered preventative drug treatments to reduce their chances of succumbing to the disease.

According to new research published in the journal Lancet Oncology, drugs like tamoxifen could dramatically cut the number of breast cancer cases in the UK.

The researchers claim the move would be similar to prescribing statins to people at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Commenting on the research, Professor Jack Cuzick, from the University of London's Queen Mary Hospital, told the BBC: "Increased breast density is one of the leading risk factors for breast cancer and early trial results suggest that where tamoxifen is shown to decrease density, the risk of cancer decreases.

"If this is confirmed in long-term studies, breast density could become a powerful way to identify high-risk women who could benefit from preventive treatments."

Recently, research conducted by scientists from Cancer Research UK showed that women who adhere to their treatments after their breast cancer has been cured are less likely to have a repeat episode.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Hackshaw, Allan. "Long-Term Benefits of 5 Years of Tamoxifen: 10-Year Follow-Up of a Large Randomized Trial in Women at Least 50 Years of Age With Early Breast Cancer". Journal of Clinical Oncology. Monday, March 21st 2011.

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