A recent study shows , many women at high risk of developing breast cancer are not taking a drug that can reduce their risk by nearly half.
Results of the study showed , postmenopausal women over age 50 who are diagnosed with a noncancerous condition in which breast cells look abnormal or are diagnosed with abnormal cells in the lobules of the breast (called lobular carcinoma in situ) are more likely to be offered and accept the use of tamoxifen. Worldwide data shows women with these conditions receive the greatest benefit from the drug. Overall, approximately 2.4 million women are estimated to be eligible to benefit from the drug tamoxifen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tamoxifen in 1998 for breast cancer risk reduction in women with elevated risk.
The study also shows premenopausal women, who may benefit from tamoxifen, were less likely to be offered or accept the drug compared to postmenopausal women. Overall, 63 percent of the women studied were offered tamoxifen, and only 26 percent accepted. Researchers of the study conclude that both the practice and attitudes of physicians toward at-risk women are responsible for the low rates of tamoxifen use.
The largest American trial to date showed a 49-percent risk reduction in all eligible women.