In the 1970s, research was undertaken on the drug Tamoxifen as a possible way to help prevent breast cancer in women with a high risk. Results of those studies showed that women, who took the anti-estrogen drug for 5 years experienced a 50% reduction in cancers, compared to those who did not get Tamoxifen. High-risk women include those who had a mother or sister with breast cancer.
McLeod Oncologist Dr. Michael Pavy explains the findings and describes how new research gives each woman with breast cancer an individualized, unique treatment:
Here is a summary of Dr. Pavy’s remarks:
A woman who has breast cancer can be placed on Tamoxifen as a preventative for relapse. Frequently, that is a five-year course of taking Tamoxifen. A couple of years ago, there was a new study published called the “Atlas Trial.”
At the end of five years with Tamoxifen, they took women who had large tumors or positive lymph nodes and conducted another study placing half the women on another five years of Tamoxifen. The results were released about 2 years ago and it showed the additional 5 years of Tamoxifen were beneficial to the women. Now a lot of the time we leave our women on 10 years of Tamoxifen.
Breast cancer research is going forward in multiple different ways. As a result, these days we do less surgery than we used to. We also have more agents to help women and targeted therapies.
We are providing personalized care. We don’t look simply at the patient, we also study the tumor to see if they have certain receptors on them so that we can fine-tune, customize and personalize the treatment for each person. One treatment doesn’t fit all. We individualize it to each and every person.
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