A new poll conducted by Cancer Research UK finds that many women with breast cancer skip their medicines. While some women seem to genuinely forget to take their medications, most of them deliberately stopped taking drugs.
Difficulty in coping with side effects and inability to swallow the tablets were given as main reasons for quitting the pills. Another reason cited was that the drugs reminded them of their cancer, according to the study due to appear in the European Journal of Cancer.
"The findings are concerning because not taking a full course of medication could impact on how effective a treatment will be," said lead researcher Louise Atkins, based at the University of Sussex. "If we can understand more about the reasons why some women don't take their medication then we'll be in a better position to help women overcome these difficulties."
The researchers conducted interviews with 131 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer at least two years ago. Of them 72 women admitted to missing medications. Around 60 said they forgot it, while 12 said they deliberately skipped them.
"It is vital that women with breast cancer do not deny themselves the chance of the maximum possible benefit from their medication," said Professor John Toy, medical director at Cancer Research UK. "Clear communication can help to ensure that doctors are better informed about how women are dealing with their treatment so as to help reduce any negative impact that treatments might have."