Another step towards protecting women indirectly at risk of contracting breast cancer has been taken by scientists at Cancer Research UK.
They have proposed that tamoxifen, which is used to treat the cancer after it develops, should also be used as a preventative measure.
A team led by Professor Jack Cuzick has focused on women who do not have faulty genes associated with the disease but who are nevertheless more than averagely at risk.
These women, who have a strong family history of breast cancer, are four times more likely to develop the cancer even though they lack the two high-risk genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Professor Cuzick believes that this fact alone is a good enough reason for them to be offered preventative and possibly life-saving, hormone-therapy treatments.
He said: “Looking at ways to prevent breast cancer is an exciting field, particularly in those who are at an increased risk of the disease.
“We’re also learning more about which women will respond to preventative treatments, which takes us ever closer to tailoring cancer treatment to each patient.”
Copyright Press Association 2009