PHILADELPHIA Researchers with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have found that the prevalence of tamoxifen use for the prevention of breast cancer among women without a personal history of breast cancer is very low.
Tamoxifen can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women who are at increased risk for developing the disease. Details of this survey are published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The low prevalence of tamoxifen use may stem from various sources, which were not investigated in this study, according to the study's coauthor Andrew N. Freedman, Ph.D., chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI.
However, he stressed that "counseling individual women about using tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer must include a patient's discussion with her physician about the drug's risks and benefits, as well as consideration of the patient's personal values, preferences, lifestyle and specific medical situation."
Lead author of this study Erika A. Waters, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues at the NCI wanted to gain an understanding of how many women aged 40 to 79 years were taking tamoxifen for the prevention of breast cancer. They answered this question using data from the National Health Interview Surveys from years 2000 and 2005, which are nationwide surveys designed to be representative of the entire United States. The surveys included more than 10,000 women for each year.
"Our results indicated that very few women were using tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer," said Waters. "However, we don't know exactly why."
The researchers found that the prevalence of tamoxifen use in this survey population was very low 0.2 percent in 2000 and 0.08 per
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American Association for Cancer Research