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Use drugs to prevent breast cancer - guidance

Tuesday June 25th, 2013

The NHS should start offering drug treatment to women facing high risk of breast cancer, government advisers said today.

The new guidance says doctors should go ahead with offering drugs such as tamoxifen to some women with a family history of the disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says five years of treatment can help stop women getting breast cancer.

NICE also says that more men and women should be offered testing for the gene mutations that cause cancer.

Although the use of drugs to prevent breast cancer has been widely tested, tamoxifen and other drugs are not licensed for this purpose in the UK.

NICE says many women may prefer to take drugs rather than undergo preventative breast surgery - the course of action chosen by the actress Angelina Jolie.

Professor Mark Baker, of NICE, said: "Our updated guideline now gives women more options in how they manage their risk of breast cancer.

"Although neither drug is licensed as a preventative treatment in the UK, clinical evidence shows they are an effective option for many women and could be preferable to surgery."

Dr Caitlin Palframan, of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "Today’s new guidelines are a game changer in the way we prevent breast cancer.

"Our strongest tool in the fight against breast cancer is prevention, and these new guidelines are a fantastic leap forward in the way we prevent breast cancer developing in those at highest risk."

[Guidance]

Tags: Cancer | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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