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Tamoxifen “halves cancer risk”


Breast cancer drug tamoxifen is more effective at preventing tumoursthan rival treatment raloxifene, but with significant health risksattached, a long-term study has found.

Researchers writing in the journal Cancer Prevention found that womenwho took tamoxifen for five years were less likely to develop breastcancer than those on raloxifene, with the risk being lowered by 50% and38% respectively.

They added, however, that tamoxifen was more likely to cause other forms of cancers and blood clots.

“Our results demonstrate that raloxifene (compared with tamoxifen)retains substantial benefit in reducing the risk of invasive breastcancer and has fewer life-threatening side effects, includingsignificantly fewer endometrial cancers,” the team said.

But Doctor Lawrence Wickerham, who presented the data, added: “Tamoxifen is still a little bit better.”

The researchers concluded that both drugs were useful, adding thatcancer patients should be able to choose between the two afterassessing the risks themselves.

Copyright Press Association 2010
Cancer Prevention

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