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article imageHormonal drugs help to prevent breast cancer return

By Tim Sandle     Jun 5, 2016 in Health
A new study suggests women who are prescribed hormonal drugs for up to 15 years after an incident of breast cancer have a far greater chance of avoiding the cancer returning compared with those who do not take the drugs.
Cancer is never cured, however many people enter into remission with a low probability of cancer returning. With other people, entering remission does not mean the risk of cancer ever returning has gone. Rates of re-occurrence tend to be higher with breast cancer than with other forms of the disease.
A new study has been attempting to examine ways to greater improve the odds of breast cancer not returning. The study has examined the effectiveness of courses of hormonal drugs prescribed over a prolonged period of time.
A study involved an assessment of 1,918 patients. The data revealed that women who were prescribed the treatment saw the risks of breast cancer returning reduced by around one-third. With the trial, post-menopausal women who had breast cancer at some point, were administered aromatase inhibitor treatment. Ordinarily, this hormonal drug is given for five years; in the study, the usage was extended to 10 years or to 15 years.
Aromatase is the enzyme that synthesizes estrogen. Because breast and ovarian cancers require estrogen to grow, inhibitors are taken to block the production of estrogen or to block the action of estrogen on receptors.
At the end of the review it was found that 95 percent of women were cancer-free if they had taken the extra medication; which compared with 91 percent who had not taken the medication of the additional periods of time. Speaking with the BBC, Dr Nick Turner, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said of the research: "It is a big deal, it's going to be a change of treatment for a lot women. Extended letrozole [aromatase inhibitor] in years 10-15 has benefit in preventing a new breast cancer diagnosis."
Hormonal treatment is not without its side-effects, including a chance of osteoporosis (as noted in a tweet from MASCC/ISOO 2016.) Any person considering treatment should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.
The study results have been presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, which met in Illinois between June 3 and 7. 2016. Oncology Central has tweeted live from the conference, about the groundbreaking research.
More about Breast Cancer, Cancer, horomones, hormonal drugs
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