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

Mutations need help from aging tissue to cause leukemia

2 hours ago

Why are older people at higher risk for developing cancer? Prevailing opinion holds that, over time, your body's cells accumulate DNA damage and that eventually this damage catches up with the body in a way ...

Specific oxidation regulates cellular functions

6 hours ago

For a long time, hydrogen peroxide has been considered as a dangerous metabolite that can damage cells through oxidation. This, however, is not its only role in the cell. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center ...

New disease mechanism discovered in lymphoma

7 hours ago

Programmed cell death is a mechanism that causes defective and potentially harmful cells to destroy themselves. It serves a number of purposes in the body, including the prevention of malignant tumor growth. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.