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High-risk women reluctant to take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, U-M study finds
Date:12/2/2009

tamoxifen, and fewer than 6 percent had either talked to their doctor or sought more information.

Results of the study appear online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

"For any given woman, there is not a right or wrong answer in regards to whether she should take tamoxifen to prevent a first diagnosis of breast cancer. The goal of decision aids is to explain the risks and benefits in a clear way so that the woman is able to weigh these factors and make an informed decision about what is best for her," Fagerlin says.

While as many as 10 million women could be eligible to take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, few choose to do so.

Side effects were the biggest concern about tamoxifen cited in this study, with 80 percent of the participants worried about this. The side effects of tamoxifen include hormonal symptoms, including hot flashes, and sexual problems, as well as rare incidences of endometrial cancer, blood clots or cataracts.

"Experts have bemoaned the dearth of women taking these pills, worried that word has not gotten out about tamoxifen's ability to prevent breast cancer in high risk women. Our study shows that even when the word does get out, most women are too concerned about the pill's side effects to want to take it," says senior author Peter Ubel, M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine at U-M.


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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