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Tamoxifen breast cancer drug an option for some women

A breast cancer drug called Tamoxifen could be used to prevent breast cancer in certain older women who have high chances of developing the disease, according to a recent report from New Scientist.

Due to the serious side effects associated with Tamoxifen, such as increased chances of uterine cancer, stroke as well as heart attack, one may wonder why anyone would take this drug as a preemptive measure against breast cancer.

The answer is because for a select demographic group of women - those over 50 and under 55, with a 66 percent or higher risk for cancer within the next five years - the risks of Tamoxifen may be outweighed by the potential benefits.

In the study, which looked at 1.5 million women from four clinical trials involving tamoxifen, the drug was shown to prevent 29 new cases and 9 deaths out of every 1,000 women treated.

Tamoxifen was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for women with high risks of breast cancer. The FDA decision was highly criticized by some researchers.
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