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A New Drug that Can Hold Off Breast Cancer for More than 10 Years

Breast cancer is common in women, with many incidences reported across the world. People at high risk of breast cancer include women with a history of the disease and those of menopausal age. But the main factors influencing a patient’s risk are age and the fact that one is a woman. Some patients can also be diagnosed without these risk factors.

A new drug has been discovered to prevent the growth of breast tumors for over 10 years after treatment. Known as anastrozole (Arimidex), the drug also reduces a patient’s breast cancer risk by half.

According to research findings;

  • The effect of the drug can stay in a patient’s body for over five years after treatment. Patients who use the medication are almost guaranteed a breast cancer risk-free life for over a decade.
  • It works by minimizing estrogen production in the body. Oestrogen is a hormone that helps to fuel breast cancer.
  • In a five-year clinical trial, anastrozole was able to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer by 61%. This reduction continued for 12 more years of subsequent follow-up. The level of prevention of the disease decreased by 36% in the next five years of follow up when patients had stopped taking the drug.
  • However, the reduction was notably not as small during the follow-up after treatment than it was during treatment.
  • The reduction was significantly seen in cancers that are estrogen receptor-positive. This possibly means that that the effect for incidence will be higher than the one on mortality. There was also a 27% reduction in receptor-negative cancers, although this still needs validation through further follow-ups.

Another drug with the same properties, Tamoxifen, shows much efficacy on the prevention of breast cancer with 29% reduced prevention and a 20-year risk-free life.

Many forms of breast cancer are Oestrogen Receptive, meaning that these tumors will react to hormonal therapies that target estrogen hormone production.


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