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Women reject preventative tamoxifen

Tuesday April 24th, 2018

Most women with family history of breast cancer will refuse to take tamoxifen as a prophylactic, researchers warn today.

A study has found that just 16% of women are willing to take the drug in spite of having a family history of breast cancer.

Fear of side-effects, mistrust of drugs and fatalism about cancer all play a part in this, according to the study of women in England, reported in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Researchers at Leeds University and two London colleges, University and Queen Mary, questioned 258 healthy women, identified as facing an increased risk of developing the disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence approved the drug for prevention in 2013 after concluding it could cut risk by a third.

Researcher Dr Samuel Smith, from Leeds, said: “Only one in seven of those at increased risk of breast cancer are taking up the option. Therefore it’s important doctors can discuss women’s concerns and provide information to help them while they are considering their options.

“Further research is needed to understand if all women eligible to take tamoxifen for prevention are getting the help and support they need.”

Dr Richard Roope, a GP adviser to Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s vital more work is done to understand these barriers, improve treatments and ensure doctors are getting the support they need to help women decide whether preventative medication is right for them.”

Uptake of breast cancer preventive therapy in the UK: results from a multicentre prospective survey and qualitative interviews. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 24 April 2018; doi:10.1007/s10549-018-4775-1

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

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