Use of tamoxifen by high risk women is low due to both failure of doctors to offer it and patients refusal to accept it, according to the results of a new study led by researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. While tamoxifen chemoprevention has been shown to reduce the occurrence of breast cancer by nearly 50 percent in women with elevated risk, this study shows that the drugs risks and benefits arent always appropriately evaluated when determining who should take it.
The study, which will be published March 22, 2004 in the online edition of CANCER, is the largest to date to review use of the drug in risk-eligible women.
"The study shows that doctors tend to offer tamoxifen to women who will reap the greatest benefit from the drug due to risk caused by certain types of benign breast disease and to those at lower risk of severe side effects. That makes sense," explains Monica Morrow, M.D., the studys lead author and director of breast surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "What doesnt make sense is that women significantly less likely to have side effects, such as premenopausal women and those without a uterus, did not accept tamoxifen more frequently than other groups." Dr. Morrow is also a professor of surgery at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine.
Patty Keiler | EurekAlert!
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