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Hope for at-risk women.

A drugs trial offering hope to thousands of women at risk of breast cancer was launched in the North-East yesterday.

The Ibis-2 project sees women whose family history suggest a high risk of the disease being given the drug anastrozole to see if it prevents the onset of cancer.

Anastrozole is already used as a treatment for women who have breast cancer, and doctors believe it could be successful in staving off the onset of the disease.

Cancer specialists are now appealing to women in high risk groups to come forward to take part in the trial, which is being funded by the charity Cancer Research UK.

Professor Tom Lennard, from Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, said: "Anastrozole has been used for a number of years in treating women who already have breast cancer.

"What we noticed is that women getting the drug had a massive reduction in getting secondary cancers in the other breast.

"That was a chance observation but it made us think that it must be preventative because it's halved the number of secondary cancers you'd expect to see."

The project is open to women aged 40-70 who have passed the menopause and have a strong family history of breast cancer or who have been told by their doctors that they are at risk.

Half the women who volunteer for the study will be given anastrozole and half will be given a placebo, with the results of the trial feeding into an international study.

Patricia Hasler, 60, from Wood Terrace in Jarrow, and Ann Brown, 60, from Wheatall Drive in Whitburn, are among the first volunteers for the scheme.

Mrs Brown, a retired teacher, said: "My mother died from breast cancer when I was only 28 and at the time my children were only two and three years old.

"Since I'm a grandmother now, I can really feel what it must be like to miss out on having grandchildren.

"Prevention is the way forward and I've signed up to see if there is a way to stop other people dying so young."

Anyone interesting in taking part in the trial should contact Vikki Bridgett at the RVI on (0191) 282-0070 or visiting the website www.ibis-trials.org.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2006
Words:369
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