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Thousands of Women in the UK to Receive Breast Cancer Prevention Drug

Tens of thousands of women in the UK could be set to benefit from the repurposing of the breast cancer drug Anastrozole. The drug has been used for many years to treat breast cancer, this drug is now being licensed in the UK for preventative purposes.

For women with a moderate or high risk of breast cancer, recent trials have shown that the drug can reduce incidence of breast cancer by up to 50% in post-menopausal women.

NHS Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, described the repurposing of Anastrozole as “Fantastic”

“It’s fantastic that this vital risk-reducing option could now help thousands of women and their families avoid the distress of a breast cancer diagnosis.”

Health Minister Bill Quince heaped praise on the positive effects of using Anastrozole as a preventative drug.

 “The positive effect Anastrozole can have in treating the disease when it has been detected in post-menopausal women and now we can use it to stop it developing at all in some women.”

47,000 Women in the UK are diagnosed with Breast cancer every year making it the most common cancer in England.

Around 80% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.

If a quarter of the estimated 289,000 eligible women in the UK to be prescribed the drug decide to come forward and get prescriptions, it could save 2000 lives. This would in turn save the NHS £15m in costs for treatments.

How does Anastrozole work?

Anastrozole is effective, as it works by blocking the enzyme called aromatase, which in turn helps to reduce the oestrogen hormone in the body.

When you are prescribed the drug, it is expected that you consume one 1mg tablet each day for five years. According to experts, the effects of the drug should last for years after the patient has stopped taking the treatment.

Research suggests that Anastrozole has fewer side effects than Tamoxifen, which is an already available preventative drug used for breast cancer, there are still risks of side effects associated with taking Anastrozole.

These risks include depression, hot flushes, joint stiffness, skin rash, feeling weak, osteoporosis, and nausea.

Any patient suffering from these side effects should contact their doctors.

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