The thought that you might have breast cancer is one of the most terrifying things one can tell you.
Advancements in the field of treatment and testing have made breast cancer less harmful than it was before. The number of cases reported as having breast cancer is dropping and its treatment is less virulent and disfiguring than it once was. The possibility that taking a pill could prevent breast cancer is something that scientists have been digging into since the 1980s. Mid this year, a recommendation by the National Institute for Heath and Care Excellence (NICE) proposed tamoxifen and ralloxifene to prevent breast cancer in women who were at risk of the contracting the disease.
The question in the mind of many is: can this unexpected drug protect against breast cancer?
Taking any kind of medication only make sense if the benefits preponderate the risks. Although tamoxifen has benefits, it may lead to severe side effects such as heightened risk of blood clots. Thanks to the myriad researches conducted by scientists, another drug by the name anastrozole has been discovered. This drug could ameliorate than tamoxifen for some women. The use of this drug tends to bring out less side effects.
From the research conducted, the use of this drug per day for a period of five years reduces the risk of one developing breast cancer by half.
Those that use the drug are less likely to get severe side effects. The female body produces oestrogen, a hormone that fuels the growth of many breast cancers. After menopause, the ovaries cease to produce oestrogen but is instead made by aromatase- an enzyme found majorly in fatty tissues like breasts, muscle and skin. Anastrozole stops the action of aromatase and depresses oestrogen in post-menopausal women.
Exemestane and letrozole are aromatase-inhibiting drugs used to treat breast cancer. Exemestane has shown promising results. Letrozole on the other hand, is still under investigation. Tamoxifen is among the most effectual breast cancer treatments to be developed. It blocks the action of oestrogen in a different way. Whereas anastrozole stops production of oestrogen, tamoxifen stops the hormone from attaching itself to breast cancer cells. This means that though oestrogen is still in the body, its activity will is barred. This therapy is known as the selective oestrogen receptor modulators or SERMs.
Due to the different reactions this drugs have in the body, use of them depends on the stage in life the woman has reached.
Anastrozole is good for women who have gone through menopause while tamoxifen can be used both in the pre and post-menopausal women. It is imperative that women take precaution by making regular appointments with their doctors to discuss what the best path might be for them to take to lower their risk of getting breast cancer.