UK doctors urged to use preventative breast cancer drugs

Hundreds of thousands of women at high risk of developing breast cancer in Britain should be given drugs which could dramatically reduce their chances of getting the disease, doctors were advised Tuesday.

In guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), up to half-a-million women with a family history of the illness should receive the £120 ($185, 141 euros), five-year course of or raloxifene.

The "one-a-day" programme is an alternative to the surgery chosen by celebrities including and Sharon Osbourne, said Nice.

Tamoxifen was shown in a clinical trial to reduce the risk of developing by about 50 percent in high-risk post-menopausal women.

Another trial found raloxifene reduced the risk by around 38 percent although neither drug is currently licensed as a in Britain.

"Tamoxifen is extremely cost effective, that's because it's extremely cheap... and treating someone with costs many thousands of pounds," explained professor Gareth Evans, who helped to develop the guidelines.

"So this treatment is potentially not just cost-effective but cost saving to the NHS and more importantly for women, they don't have to go through the stress and trauma of a diagnosis, radiotherapy, potentially chemotherapy.

"So it's a major breakthrough for women that they are going to be able to be offered this treatment in the future," he added.

campaigners praised the report.

"We believe that this guideline is a game changer for people with a family history of breast cancer," said Caitlin Palframan, assistant head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

"In fact for breast cancer overall it's a historic step for prevention.

"We think more women will have more options to reduce their risk, which ultimately means we will prevent more breast cancer cases."

Around 50,000 women and 400 men develop breast cancer every year in Britain, according to Nice figures.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study confirms long term benefits of tamoxifen

Jun 03, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Taking tamoxifen for 10 rather than five years halves the risk of women dying from the most common kind of breast cancer, according to new research being presented at this year's ASCO conference. ...

Recommended for you

Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Healthy women at low risk of cardiovascular disease may be able to take hormone replacement therapy soon after menopause for a short time without harming their hearts, according to a new study.

Low yield for repeat colonoscopy in some patients

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Repeat colonoscopies within 10 years are of little benefit to patients who had no polyps found on adequate examination; however, repeat colonoscopies do benefit patients when the baseline examination was compromised, ...

Cell's recycling center implicated in division decisions

7 hours ago

Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have now identified ...

User comments