A drug that's already on the market is helping women at high risk for the
disease cut their chances of getting it.
Six years ago Beth Hocherman's doctors discovered she had abnormal cells growing in her breast tissue... which could lead to cancer.
Beth Hocherman said, “I was extremely upset and stressed out and scared.”
Now a new study of high risk women like beth finds a drug already approved to TREAT breast cancer may prevent it. The study in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at more than 45-hundred older woman who had prior cancer or a family history. It found taking a hormone blocking pill - known as an aromotase inhibitor - can reduce the chances of developing invasive breast cancer by 65-percent.
Dr. Freya Schnabel with NYU Langone Medical Center said, “I think this is going to begin the possibility of using these drugs for breast cancer prevention in postmenopausal women.”
One of the reasons doctors are excited about the findings is because these drugs don't have serious side effects.
Dr. Freya Schnabel with NYU Langone Medical Center said, “aromastase inhibitors can cause some hot flashes, a small minority of women also get joint and bone and muscle aching.”
Current prevention drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene are not recommended for the average woman because they carry risks for blood clots, uterine cancer and other problems.
Beth Hockerman is taking a different prevention drug but she's pleased there could be another option.
She said, “it's very good to have more than one choice especially people who don't have cancer but have a high risk condition.”
Doctors say more research is needed to study the long term effects of taking these medications to prevent breast cancer.
This class of drugs is currently used to prevent recurrence in some breast cancer patients.
Each year about 200-thousand new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed
in women in the US.