Women at risk of breast cancer to be offered tamoxifen on NHS

  • Posted

Posted 24/06/2013

The BBC reported today that tamoxifen will be offered to women at risk of breast cancer. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says tamoxifen or raloxifene taken daily for five years can cut breast cancer risk by 40%, and the protective effect should last for at least a decade. Its guidance for England and Wales means 500,000 women now have a choice other than mastectomy.

NICE says women in England and Wales who are aged over 35 and at moderate or high risk of breast cancer as a result of their family history or genes should be considered for preventative drug therapy. The Scottish Government says women with two or more family members who have had breast cancer will be offered the treatment for five years.

Sophie Bales, a medical injury solicitor at Ashton KC,J comments: “It is good news that there is another option for those who are at significant risk of breast cancer, other than a mastectomy, which some patients may consider too drastic.

However, any woman who qualifies for the drug should still carefully consider their options. Tamoxifen will reduce the risk by nearly half but can have side effects such as causing hot flushes and blood clots. Surgery to remove both breasts would bring a woman’s lifetime risk down nearly to zero and therefore many women may still opt for this if they are at significant risk.”


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