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Cancer risk cut by bone medication


US researchers have claimed that drugs commonly used to prevent thinning bones could cut the risk of breast cancer by more than a third.

Scientists based in Seattle, Washington, found that taking bisphosphonates for two years or more could reduce a woman’s risk of the cancer by nearly 40%.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, were based on a survey of almost 6,000 women aged from 20 to 69 – half with breast cancer and half without.

The study recorded how many women had used the drug for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and found a strong link between bisphosphonate use and reduced risk of breast cancer.

It found that women who took the drug for the longest period of two years were 40% less likely to develop breast cancer than untreated women.

Study leader Dr Polly Newcomb, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, said: “These medications inhibit the growth of many cell types, and this large study suggests that the development of breast tumours may also be affected.”

Copyright Press Association 2010

British Journal of Cancer study

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