New drug helps lower risk of developing breast cancer by 53 percent

By Samantha Ravenscroft,

A five-year study shows that the drug anastrozole can lower chances of developing breast cancer by 53 percent.

The results were published in the journal Lancet and were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The study showed that 2,000 women were given a 1mg of anastrozole a day while another 2,000 were given a placebo.

At the end of the five years, only 40 of the women taking anastrozole developed cancer, while 85 people in the placebo group developed cancer, according to NBC News.

Current drugs prevent cancer, such as tamoxifen, but they only lower chances of developing breast cancer by 50 percent or less and include more side effects than anastrozole, such as hot flashes, according to TIME.

Study author Jack Cuzick urged the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to add anastrozole to the list of drugs recommended for women at risk of developing breast cancer.

“Our priority now is ensuring that as many women as possible can benefit from these new findings," Cuzick said. "Prevention is an important tool in the fight against breast cancer.”

It is unclear whether U.S. organizations will act on the data. Some experts believe the data isn’t solid enough for anastrazole to join exemestane as a preventive measure.


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