- Thank you
- Cancerkin Christmas Opening Hours
- Study shows that taking tamoxifen could have a preventative effect against breast cancer for 20 years
This issue of ‘On the pulse’ is the last of 2014 and so we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped support us in the past year.
First, to our supporters. In the past year, you walked, ran, cut off your hair, organised events, came to our theatre evening, made donations and much, much more to ensure we could continue to offer the best possible support to those diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank you.
We would also like to thank the trusts and foundations who fund our various programmes and services. Their contributions over the past year have enabled us to offer 12 different complementary therapies and group classes at the Cancerkin Centre (and a further three in East London) alongside support groups and treatments at our Lymphoedema Clinic.
Thank you to the consultants and breast care nurses at the Royal Free Hospital who ensure all patients know how to access our services. We would also like to thank the Royal Free Hospital for the support it gives us.
In East London, we would like to thank St Barts Hospital, Homerton University Hospital and Newham University Hospital, who ensure that all who want our support can access it. Thank you also to St Joseph’s Hospice, Bromley-by-Bow Health Centre, St Peter’s Church and the Given-Wilson Institute for hosting our complementary therapy sessions.
Finally, we would like to thank our patients, who bring us so much warmth and joy. Thank you.
Cancerkin Christmas Opening Hours
The Cancerkin Centre will be closed from Monday 22 December 20134 until Friday 2 January 2015 (inclusive). We will be back in full swing for the New Year from Monday 5 January 2015.
Study shows that taking tamoxifen could have a preventative effect against breast cancer for 20 years
Research published the Lancet Oncology has found that taking tamoxifen for five years has a preventative effect for 20 years, reducing breast cancer rates by approximately 30%.
Last year, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated their guidance on the care of women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. This included recommending taking tamoxifen or raloxifene as a preventative measure to a specific group of women who are at high risk of breast cancer and have not had the disease. This recent study has suggested the preventative effect of tamoxifen lasts for longer than was previously thought.
The study involved over 7,000 women, between 35 and 70 years of age, and all at a high risk of developing breast cancer. Half the women received a 20mg daily dose of tamoxifen for five years – the period of time NICE recommends preventative tamoxifen should be taken for – whilst the other participants received a placebo for the same period. After completing treatment, their health was monitored for an average of 16 years.
In total, 251 women who had taken tamoxifen developed breast cancer, compared to 350 women in the placebo group: a 29% reduction in breast cancer rates for the group of women who had taken tamoxifen. Furthermore, the rates of oestrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer – which accounts for two thirds of all breast cancer cases – were reduced by 35% for the group of women who had received tamoxifen.
The researchers therefore reported that the estimated risk of developing breast cancer was 8% in the tamoxifen group, compared to 12% in the placebo group. This equates to 22 women being treated with tamoxifen for every breast cancer case prevented after 20 years.
The reduced incidence of breast cancer did not, however, lead to fewer breast cancer deaths, with 31 women in the tamoxifen group dying of breast cancer compared to 26 women in the placebo group.
One of the side effects of taking tamoxifen is increased risk of developing endometrial cancer. The study found that while the endometrial cancer cases were 3.8 times more common in the tamoxifen group during the 5 years of treatment, there was no increased risk in the follow-up period.
Professor Jack Cuzick, lead author of the paper, said: “Tamoxifen is a well-established and effective treatment for certain breast cancers, but we now have evidence of its very long-term preventive benefits. The preventive effect of tamoxifen is highly significant with a reduction in breast cancer rates of around a third, and this impact has remained strong and unabated for 20 years. We hope these results will stimulate more women, particularly younger women, to consider treatment options for breast cancer prevention if they have a family history of the disease or other major risk factors.”
Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This… confirms that tamoxifen has a long-lasting effect in reducing cases of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. All these drugs have side effects so it’s important that women at high risk of breast cancer talk through their choices with their doctor to work out the best option for them.”