Friday, July 28, 2006

Breast cancer pill falls from favor: "Tamoxifen, the pill that prevents breast cancer in high-risk women, does not appear in the long run to save many lives, US researchers reported today. Women at the highest risk of breast cancer do appear to live longer if they take Tamoxifen, the researchers report in the latest issue of the journal Cancer. But for women at the low end of the high-risk group, the sometimes serious side effects of Tamoxifen outweigh the benefits, Dr Joy Melnikow of the University of California, Davis, and colleagues reported. Tamoxifen can cause blood clots and uterine cancer. "We found that for women at the lower end of the high-risk range for developing breast cancer, there is a very small likelihood that taking Tamoxifen will reduce mortality," Dr Melnikow said in a statement. Dr Melnikow and her colleagues calculated that Tamoxifen can extend life expectancy only when a woman's five-year risk of developing breast cancer is 3 per cent or higher. This is especially true for women who have not had a hysterectomy, and thus risk endometrial cancer from taking Tamoxifen".

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