Breast Cancer Can Be Prevented With Drugs, Study Shows
Breast cancer can be prevented in high-risk women who take certain anti-cancer medications, according to a study published in The Lancet Oncology health journal.
The study proposes a radical new way of combating breast cancer that focuses on prevention techniques. Medical experts from the study say that some drugs, such as tamoxifen, can reduce the chance of developing breast cancer by one third, in those at high risk of developing the disease.
Experts from the study say that the approach necessitates an awareness of risk factors, so those women who are likely to respond to treatment can receive it. "It's important to find ways of predicting who will respond, so drugs like this can be targeted at those most likely to benefit and least likely to experience side-effects, wrote chairman of the panel Professor Jack Cuzick, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist.
Cuzick went on to write that increased breast density is a leading risk factor for cancer and that tamoxifen can decrease cancer risk as it decreases breast density. "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," he added.
Tamoxifen is a commonly used treatment and works by reducing levels of oestrogen, which prompts breast tumors to grow. Studies have indicated it could reduce the risk of the most common form of breast cancer by five to ten percent. Currently the drug is approved for this use in the U.S. but remains to be approved in the UK.