Our CEO, Baroness Delyth Morgan, responds to reports that tamoxifen is not being offered to women with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Tuesday 8 November 2016      Health information
Tamoxifen drugs

New research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute’s (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool has shown that there is a low awareness among GPs of tamoxifen as a preventive treatment for women at medium or high risk of breast cancer.

The study – led by Professor Jack Cuzick at Queen Mary, University of London – conducted an online survey of 928 GPs in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, finding that just over half (51.7%) of the surveyed GPs knew that tamoxifen could reduce breast cancer risk, while just a quarter (24.1%) were aware of relevant NICE guidelines.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It is deeply concerning that many women at an increased risk of breast cancer are still not being offered the choice of taking tamoxifen to reduce their risk.

“NICE’s 2013 guideline recommended that it be offered to all women at medium and high risk. But unfortunately this is largely not being adhered to, with many GPs lacking confidence in discussing the option with patients and a worrying number not even being aware of it.

“This unfortunately highlights that where a drug is off-patent, as tamoxifen is, a NICE guideline itself is not enough to ensure a change of practice, and this needs to be urgently addressed.

“Ultimately, while not all women will want to take tamoxifen as it has side-effects as well as benefits, it’s imperative that they are offered the option and given all the information they need to make an informed choice.”

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