Understanding why people treated for oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer stop taking tamoxifen

Project details

Researcher: Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Dr Lyndsay Hughes, and Professor Myra Hunter

Location: Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

Project title: Understanding why people treated for oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer stop taking tamoxifen

Key area: Treatment

The challenge

Many people with ER positive breast cancer are prescribed tamoxifen to take for five years after surgery. Taking tamoxifen reduces the chance of their breast cancer coming back after treatment. However, up to 60 per cent of these people stop taking the drug before the end of five years, but it is not clear what the main factors are that lead people to stop taking their medication.

Project description

Prof Moss-Morris and her colleagues wish to understand why many people prescribed tamoxifen do not take the drug for the full five years recommended to them. The side effects of tamoxifen can be harsh, but they know that side effects are not the only reason why people stop taking their medication. In this project, Prof Moss-Morris and her colleagues will formally assess all the factors that influence whether people stick to their prescribed course of tamoxifen. They will do this using questionnaires given to up to 600 women who have been prescribed tamoxifen, as well as face-to-face interviews with some of these women. With knowledge of which factors are the most important, they will develop and test an educational booklet with the help of patient and healthcare groups and a group of women taking tamoxifen.

What difference will this project make?

The research led by Prof Moss-Morris will help to design ways to support people taking tamoxifen after their initial treatment for breast cancer, to ensure they get the maximum benefit from the drug, increasing their quality of life and chances of living longer.

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