BREAST CANCER DRUG AIDS WIDE AGE RANGE.Byline: Emma Ross Associated Press
The drug Tamoxifen tamoxifen (təmŏk`sĭfĕn'), synthetic hormone used in the treatment of breast cancer. Introduced in 1978, tamoxifen is used to prevent recurrences of cancer in women who have already undergone surgery to remove their tumors. , already standard treatment for older victims of breast cancer, works equally well in young women and could save an additional 20,000 lives a year around the world if given more widely, according to a study published today.
When taken immediately after surgery for five years, Tamoxifen halved the recurrence rate over the next 10 years - regardless of age - as well as the chances of developing a new cancer in the other breast, according to the study, described as the largest cancer study ever undertaken.
``The evidence is getting to be quite strong that these are permanent preventions - in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , a cure,'' said Dr. Harmon Eyre, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society,
n.pr established in 1913, this national volunteer-based health organization is committed to the elimination of cancer through prevention and treatment and to diminishing cancer suffering through advocacy, scholarship, research, . ``This takes it beyond any question of scientific debate.''
The study, by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group, was headed by scientists at Oxford University and published in this week's issue of The Lancet, a British medical journal The British Medical Journal, or BMJ, is one of the most popular and widely-read peer-reviewed general medical journals in the world. It is published by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd (owned by the British Medical Association), whose other . It is part of an ongoing analysis of all Tamoxifen studies ever conducted worldwide and followed 37,000 women with early breast cancer. It was funded by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund The Imperial Cancer Research Fund was a cancer research organization in the United Kingdom. In 2002, it merged with Cancer Research Campaign to form Cancer Research UK. , an independent charity.
Breast cancer is described as early if it can be detected only in or near the breast and can be removed by surgery. However, microscopic fragments already might have spread elsewhere.
In most cases, breast cancer spreads as a result of hormones that encourage it to grow. Tamoxifen attacks spreading cancer by blocking these hormones. The drug does not help when women's tumors are insensitive to hormones.
With 1 million women worldwide taking it, Tamoxifen is one of the most widely used cancer drugs. But it is most often given to postmenopausal post·men·o·paus·al
Of or occurring in the time following menopause.
postmenopausal Change of life Gynecology adjective Referring to the time in ♀ when menstrual periods stop for ≥ 1 yr women. Younger women are mostly treated with chemotherapy alone because doctors did not believe Tamoxifen helped, theorizing that high hormone levels in premenopausal pre·me·no·paus·al
Of or relating to the years or the stage of life immediately before the onset of menopause.
premenopausal adjective women might overwhelm the drug.
The new findings showed Tamoxifen was effective for women of all ages with hormone-sensitive cancer, whether or not chemotherapy had been given and whether or not the cancer had spread to their lymph nodes Lymph nodes
Small, bean-shaped masses of tissue scattered along the lymphatic system that act as filters and immune monitors, removing fluids, bacteria, or cancer cells that travel through the lymph system. .
``Starting five years of Tamoxifen immediately after surgery prevented one in six women from relapsing and one in 12 from dying,'' said the study's leader, Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford. ``Tamoxifen for older women is already saving more lives than any other cancer drug, but most of the young breast cancer patients who need Tamoxifen are not getting it.''
Peto's group started collecting all the breast cancer treatment This article or section recently underwent a major revision or rewrite and needs further review. You can help!
The mainstay of breast cancer treatment is surgery when the tumor is localized, with possible adjuvant hormonal therapy (with tamoxifen or an aromatase studies conducted worldwide nearly 15 years ago. Early findings in the mid-1980s showed Tamoxifen could improve five-year survival. By 1992, the drug was shown to improve 10-year survival as well, but that was based on prescribing it for two years or less.
The latest information shows, however, that five years of Tamoxifen is about twice as effective.
Part of the reason why Tamoxifen is not being prescribed as widely as it could be is because the drug is linked to cancer of the womb and blood clots in the lung.